We’re in the final week of NaNoWriMo, and my month hasn’t gone entirely to plan.
I decided (but apparently didn’t really commit) to undertake NaNo when we decided to do a heap of supportive content about it on Writers Bloc. That is, a couple of days before November began. I thought I wouldn’t be able to properly talk about the NaNoWriMo experience unless I had one myself.
If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the basic premise is to write 50,000 words toward your novel in 30 days. I’ve taken my own path a bit, in that I’m not working on a novel but using the time to tally up articles, essays, blog posts; drafts of all sorts. Today, on the 25th day of writing, and less than a week from the finish line, I’ve got only a fifth of what I was meant to aim for. I haven’t even written every day.
Why am I sharing this? Why am I not pretending I finished, or at least got a whole lot closer to 50,000 words than I actually have? I’m not entirely sure. I think it’s because I suspect there’s many more like me out there, who’ve done just a bit of a NaNo. And I think that’s okay, and not something to beat yourself up over.
NaNoWriMo’s a time for a heap of feels. Foremost is guilt, for having not written more, or having not spent every waking moment with my writing in mind, as I know many people do. On the other hand though, I do feel more creative having (almost) done this month of intensive writing. There’s something about the act of constantly throwing out ideas and running with them that unblocks your creativity. Instead of vetoing ideas before they make it to the page, as I normally would, my desperate-for-words mentality meant that everything got air time. Even ridiculous ideas.
I have found myself writing fiction, which I haven’t done in at least six months.
I’ve created a stockpile of projects to return to later.
I’ve unblocked, and am giving less heed to that nagging voice in my head which usually prevents those ideas from being actual pieces of writing.
How has NaNoWriMo gone for you? We’re still five days away from the finish line, but winners are beginning to announce themselves (HUGE APPLAUSE!) already. Have you reached the 50K already? Are you on your way? Or have you, like me, just gone with it and gotten something else out of the experience?
26/11/2013 at 3:31 pm
I’m sure you’re right that you’re not the only one who has written less than they hoped – but as you say, you’ve still got value out of the process and I think that’s what it’s really all about. My computer died immediately upon me signing up and I couldn’t access my ms, which was in Scrivener so that was the death knell for me. Next year I’ll be doing a writing residency during NaNo so I’ll definitely be signing up then.
29/11/2013 at 1:12 am
I thought about the NaNoWriMo since had heard about it last year, but calculating my spare time, I had to give it up even before it had begun. But still I had to try, so at least I’ve got something written to look for.
Amazing to see how the same struggles are across nations and languages.
29/11/2013 at 1:14 am
I think I saw stats on their site claiming that only 10% finish…
29/11/2013 at 2:17 am
Reblogged this on mlacorner and commented:
A bit of a departure from our real estate and football themes but…. this is another project I undertake with about 15 homeschooled students this month. Our little group “The Novel Collective” has written shown amazing creativity and I am impressed!
29/11/2013 at 3:07 am
After spending years on the same novel, and finally getting it past 50k during last year’s NaNo, and editing it every week since then, I decided to make this year my mirror-image-NaNo and avoid working on it for the entire month. Almost there…
29/11/2013 at 3:12 am
This was my first NaNo and I’m proud to say I did it! I’m still finishing off the story, though, as fifty thousand words didn’t cut it.
29/11/2013 at 4:52 am
I think the purpose of NaNo is to get us writing. I participated and reached my goal for two years in a row – didn’t think I could as I’ve only ever written short stories. But I discovered I had at least two novels in me. I didn’t do it this year as medical issues sort of got in the way, and I needed to focus on those. But there’s always next year. Kudos for participating!
29/11/2013 at 5:01 am
NaNoWriMo finish line is within sight for me. I have just under 4,000 words to write, and I did more than that yesterday. My story is coming together and something that I previously thought impossible is almost a reality. I’m so glad I tried! Oh, and I’ve been blogging every day too. What a month! Thanks for the post. There are so many ways to be successful, don’t you think?
29/11/2013 at 6:21 am
I too am involved with Nanowrimo this year. It is my first attempt and I have formed a wonderful group of writers who are all homeschooled kids. We called ourselves The Novel Collective. I am very proud of all my students for at least making the attempt to reach their word count goals. Some very creative stories have come out of this venture and several have asked to please include them next year. My own attempt fell well short of my goal but like you this month has opened up a “heap of feels”. Thanks for sharing!
29/11/2013 at 11:35 am
I managed to write for the first week, then life took over. Then I started a completely different story about halfway through the month, wrote for about a week, then life took over. The good news is, I have about 4000 words each for two completely different stories that I’m very excited about. Getting started is better than not starting at all in my opinion!
29/11/2013 at 2:35 pm
I won a few days early this year! But I don’t think you should beat yourself up over not getting to your goal completely. You accomplished things your otherwise wouldn’t have, and I think that’s the main point. Keep going! This month isn’t over yet! And resolve to do your best from now on. I’m glad you’ve been writing down even ridiculous ideas, because you never know! To some people, they might be great ones.
29/11/2013 at 4:41 pm
NaNoWriMo is an astounding feat to me as a non-writer with severe seasonal depression. My creative outlet, comic strips, suffers greatly during the winter months due to the lack of yellow outside. Did manage to crank out this applicable piece though: http://pezcita.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/om-nom-nom-november/
29/11/2013 at 5:58 pm
Reblogged this on ipomaven.
29/11/2013 at 6:20 pm
My goal for nanowrimo was 18K and I am close to 20K divided between my blog and a novella (that seems to be turning into a novel now).
29/11/2013 at 6:50 pm
Planning to claim the winner certificate later today when I finish the book. I’m currently snailing in on 120.000 words.
29/11/2013 at 8:02 pm
did not do nanowrimo and hold you all in huge esteem. doing nablopomo has just about put me on my ear.
30/11/2013 at 2:26 pm
Yay for posts like this. I’ve halfheartedly tried NaNo twice in the past, but this is the first year where I felt like I was going to go all the way. Well, the day before the end of November, I’m about about 34,000 words… and while having 50,000 words would be amazing, I think I am pretty happy with 34,000 🙂 Great job
02/12/2013 at 4:18 pm
That is amazing! I came up short as well, 28,000 words, but I am going to keep going through to the finish. Hopefully I will do better next year, closer to your 34,000 words.
01/12/2013 at 11:09 pm
NaNo – Nah and NO way did I come close to getting it done!
02/12/2013 at 5:04 am
i only regard nanowrimo thing as an encouragement to write, which is good, actually. writing a 50,000 word novel remains a dream in my head. i have no idea how people have time to do that if they have so much work and overtime in the office. i wrote something, just 1000 words or less, for my regular posts. and yeah, totally huge applause for those who manage to finish it!
05/12/2013 at 4:04 am
I want to try this next year.