NaNoWriMo Highs and Lows

Last year I took part in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words of a new project. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I’m so glad I joined the challenge.

The beginning of the month brings a lot of enthusiasm, but sometimes the expectations of NaNo don’t match up with the realities. But the tough days don’t have to get you down! Take a look at this video I made about the NaNo highs and lows:

If you’re tackling NaNo this year, don’t worry about the bad days. Keep going, take breaks as needed, don’t worry about editing and let your creativity fly. You got this!

Every Word Counts: What I Learned in NaNoWriMO

Regular followers may have noticed some relative blog silence around these parts, and that’s largely been due to NaNoWriMo. This was my first year fully committing to a writing 50,000 words in November as part of a new project, and I’m happy to say that I hit that 50k yesterday!


(I had no idea the winning badge included a dragon. I will do just about anything for a dragon.)

I spent a lot of time away from the blog and staring at a Word document, but I’m so happy I took part in this year’s NaNoWriMo. It ended up being a pretty worthwhile experiment. The whole “just write a first draft, who cares if it’s bad, it’s words on paper that you can edit later” approach always sounds better in my head than in actual execution. Usually, I tell myself “just write” but I end up finagling more as I go. I still ended up doing some of that during NaNo, but I pushed myself way more than I normally do on any given day. I know that my NaNo project isn’t perfect, and there’s still a lot to figure out in revision, but I’m pretty happy with where it is overall. It was nice to find that balance between “just get words on the page!” and “carefully craft all the words.”

Also, I’m someone who doesn’t generally look at word count. If you ask me how many words I typically write per day, I’d say “Oh, I don’t know. A hundred? A thousand? Some amount of words?” Usually I track my progress by scene, and at the end of the day I’ll see how many pages that ended up being. NaNo was a fun way to make me a little more competitive with myself–I’d finish a scene and think “Oh, that’s really close to X number of words, which is a nice even number. Let’s do just a little more.” Although I still don’t have any real idea of how many words equal a scene or page, looking at word count was a helpful way to push myself that little bit further on any given day.

I’m really happy to have hit that 50k, but even if I had fallen behind (because life happens!), I would have still been happy to take part in NaNo. Because even if you only end up with 50 words, maybe that’s 50 more than you would have written. Every word counts. Whether it’s November or June, and whether it’s a novel or a short story or a poem–every word you write makes you a better writer. There’s no failing and no wasted time when you’re writing. Getting any number words on a page and crafting a story bit by bit makes you stronger as a storyteller. And that’s awesome.

My NaNo WIP isn’t done yet (probably another 25k or so to go), but I’m excited to keep pushing forward. I hope you’re excited about your WIP, too. Let’s go slay more word dragons!

And speaking of dragons, I spent Thanksgiving at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it was awesome!

photo (10)

Quote of the Day

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”William Faulkner

A little inspiration for anyone writing today, especially those of you participating in NaNoWriMo. Forget what anyone else is doing or has done–focus on what you’re doing right now.

(Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, reproduction number LOT 12735, no. 368.)

Happy No(WriMo)vember from the Rebel Alliance

Ah, November–a month of giving thanks and the last of falling leaves, of hot cider and wool sweaters. And it’s a month of sitting in front of your computer, frantically typing to get to that ultimate goal of at least 50,000 words. Yep, it’s NaNoWriMo.

I’ve always been curious about NaNoWriMo. At first I was really snobby about it and said, “I don’t write just because it’s November. I write because it’s what I do!” But now I don’t think NaNoWriMo is just an excuse for people to try writing and give it up in December. It’s a way for writers to try something new and kick-start a project. It’s about connecting with the writerly community. Kind of like you going to road races. You can run 26.2 miles on any random day, but going to a marathon is fun and exciting and fosters a sense of running community.

Still, I always balk at actually talking part in NaNoWriMo. Last year I got married and was away for half of November, so that cancelled things out. This year I thought “But I’m already working on projects. I don’t want to have to start something totally new because it’s part of the rules.” Then I saw Debbie Ohi and Errol Elumir’s comic which referenced NaNoRebels.

Rebels, you say?

The official NaNo rules are:

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch.
  • Be the sole author of your novel.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation.

But the NaNoRebels don’t roll that way. Who needs rules? It’s about getting the writing done! They say, “This is a self-challenge. The REAL prize of NaNoWriMo is the accomplishment, and the big new manuscript you have at the end. Everything beyond that is icing on the cake.” Heck yeah!

Fanfics? You’re in. Short stories? Come on over. Already wrote stuff? You’re a rebel.

So even though it’s already November 1, I’m thinking about diving in. I’m very early into two first drafts, so I think this is a good way to kick me into high gear on one or the other (or both? I’m a rebel! I don’t care!). I’m also editing, so I’m glad that the NaNoRebels don’t require so much intensity on the brand-new draft.

Anyone been a NaNoRebel before? Anyone going full-on NaNo?

(image via TIE Fighters)