Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, I guess it's confession time.

Today is November 30th.  It's the last day of Nanowrimo.  I should be typing my 50,000th word sometime today, and uploading my novel for verification and that awesome sense of accomplishment completing something like Nano gives you.

Except, I'm not.

Because my final word count came in at a little over 15,000.

So, like Donna, I failed.  I did not complete Nanowrimo.

But you know what?  I think that's okay.

Because even though I didn't win, here's what I learned through Nanowrimo this past month:

--Nanowrimo isn't for everyone.  And that's not to say that there are some people who have the willpower to do it and some who don't.  I mean that it really isn't for everyone, because not everyone writes the same way.  Some of us sit down and can write for hours.  Can write 10,000 words in a day.  And some of us can't.  I've found, if I have literally NOTHING else to do in a day, I can write about 3,500 words in a day.  And on an average day, I can write between 600 and 900 words. And I've learned that's okay.

--Nanowrimo isn't always healthy for your writing.  I wrote about 15,000 words this month, which is the most I've written in a month in a really long time.  But what I found happened is that I was so focused on the word count that I lost sight of my personal writing goals, my subplots, and a lot of logistics that needed to go into my story.  For example, I was writing an escape scene.  It needed a lot of different elements--a diversion, guards, a getaway, and a lot of different characters during different things at the same time.  I wrote that scene during Nanowrimo.  And then promptly realized that it didn't make much sense, because I'd been so obsessed with the words on the page that I forgot about everything else.  I'm not going back to fix it just yet, but I know it's something that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't rushing.

--I think the most important thing that Nanowrimo taught me was how to make my writing more of a priority.  This was the first month that I tried to write every day.  I came home and didn't just flop onto the couch and get swallowed into Twitter or Facebook.  I wrote almost every single day.  Even if it was only 100 words, I wrote often.  And that was great.

Maybe I'll try again next year.  Hopefully by next November I'll be finished with my current project and it'll be the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and barrel out 50,000 words of something random and new.  But until then, I think I'll keep plugging away, 100 words at a time.

How about all of you?  Did you succeed?  Did you fail?  What did you learn from Nanowrimo?


  1. I didn't 'win' NaNo either, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I totally agree that NaNo isn't always healthy for your writing, and slowing down to get a more solid draft is perfeetly fine. :)

  2. It's definitely an experience, worth trying at least once. And I feel as long as you learn something from it, then you've won.

  3. If by succeed you mean write 50,000 words in 30 days, then yes, I did. But I don't think you didn't succeed either. If you learned something, you're smarter than you were before. And hey, you also got 15,000 new words out of the deal. That's pretty awesome IMO. Congrats!

  4. No "win" for me this year, either, but I have to say that 19K is probably the most I've written in a month, and this is the first time since grad school that I've taken the time to write something most days of the week, so in that way, it was a personal win.

    And I have a chunk of story that I want to flesh out and develop, so there's a win there, too. Just not an official win.

  5. I think learning awesome stuff totally counts as a personal win! Oh well if you didn't make the word count, it's all about bettering your writing so ta-da you did it! ;)

  6. Yeah, you didn't fail at all, and you're attitude says it all. I did a post about this today. You WIN!

  7. Tabitha--I agree. You have a different relationship with every book, and my current WIP is definitely a slow-and-steady one.

    Liz--True! I remember having so much fun doing it in college. I definitely hope to complete it again in the future.

    Tina Lynn--Thank you! 15,000 that only make half-sense, but hey, 15,000 all the same :)

    Jessica N--That's awesome, congrats! Sometimes a personal win can mean so much more than outside validation. Good luck on your story!

    Colene--Thanks :) I think I'm going to start considering Nanowrimo a month-long writing exercise, and I definitely agree there are lots of way to "win."

    Michelle--Thank you! :) I'll definitely be checking your post out today. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I agree with the previous commenters. The goal for nano is 50k, but getting *anything* done is better than not doing any writing at all! I also only got a little over 15,000 written this month b/c of moving and then catching a cold. I'm disappointed that I didn't hit 50k, but I'm glad that I still got a good amount written in such a short time :)

  9. Yeah, I'm not "winning" NaNo either, but I learned a lot of the same things you did. I'm not really someone who can just churn out the words, but I've been consistently writing every day this month. :)

  10. I won, but I get what your saying. For me, nano was really about establishing a habit. I went to write ins every Monday and I think I'm going to try to keep up Monday as my "writing night".

    I also learned I tend to leave out descriptions of the background. I re-read my first scene last night and realized it could very well have taken place inside of a white room without windows.

  11. I agree that it's not for everyone.

    What NaNo did for me was motivate me to finish a first draft. I did a little bit of going back to read and edit, but I focused more on furthering the story. Granted, I'm at 50500 and the story isn't over, but I think it will be soon.

    I heard advice along these lines, "When in doubt, make trouble for your character," and I followed it each time I got writer's block this month.

    Something amazing happened when I did that. A scene would pour out of me, be interesting, and it would become a relevant plot point as time w-ent on.

  12. Meghan--Congrats on getting 15k down! Every little bit helps.

    Krispy--I think that's what I'm most proud of. I like that, even though I didn't reach the objective goal of Nano, it pushed my writing to the forefront of my mind.

    Melissa--Congrats! That's awesome you were able to finish. And I wish I could take a few of your white walls--I have the opposite problem. I'm so busy describing the inside of a house I forget my characters are supposed to be, like, doing stuff...

    Sarah--That's awesome that you finished. Congrats! Also, I really like your advice. That's definitely something I'll keep in mind as I continue to write.

  13. I won.

    But like you said, nano isn't for everyone. If it takes 10 years to write your book, or if you crank it out in 2 weeks, who cares? If it's the next Harry Potter, we'll all love it anyhow.

    Or be green with envy.



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