RTW: NaNoWriMo

This week’s topic

Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?

Anyone involved in the education system, be it school or university, can attest to the fact that November is one of the worst months. Everything happens in November in a mad rash before the Christmas holidays. Yes, I have done NaNoWriMo twice and never been able to write more than 35k words despite monumental effort.

My first attempt at NaNo went better than expected and resulted in a manuscript I didn’t hate. I finished writing it even after November 30th had rolled around. After several rounds of revisions, I submitted the novel on a whim to an editor and Voila! Less than a year later it was published! My first novel Dragon’s Teeth could be considered a NaNo success story I guess.

My second NaNo attempt didn’t go as well but the ms I ended up with provided me with a cast of characters, which through a series of revisions over several months, morphed into the story that is currently on submission with my agent.

Will I do NaNoWriMo this year? Probably not since I’m already at 55k words on an ms I started about 6 weeks ago. I plan to have this novel finished and polished before the end of the year so I’m not going to jeopardise that by trying to squeeze out a Shiny New Idea in November.

The verdict? NaNoWriMo is definitely worth all the stress and furious typing and sore fingers and lack of social life. Even if you don’t hit that 50k mark, the writing is never wasted and either serves as practice for something better or lays the foundation for a workable ms. I don’t particularly like deadlines but I do work better under pressure and often set myself mini deadlines to make sure I actually get into gear and finish writing projects. My experience in NaNo has also taught me the value of outlining and having a plan so I’m now a hybrid pantser-plotter.

What are you feelings about NaNoWriMo?

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  • I’m participating in NaNo, but not with a fresh idea. I guess you could say I’m signed up, but not trying to ‘win’. Last year I started a story and wrote about 19,000 words during NaNo. It’s my intention to finish it this year during NaNo (it now sits at 33,000 words). I think NaNo is just a great way to find motivation and accountability even if you aren’t pounding out a shiny new idea, you know? That’s how I’m treating it anyway. 🙂

    • Xaniver

      Hm, didn’t think about it that way. I know some people who’ve signed up and written short stories trying to total to 50k that way. I just don’t think I need the added pressure this year.

      Good luck with your NaNo writing!

  • Colin

    I totally understand your reason for not NaNoing this year, Suzanne. All the best with the current WIP. I hope you reach your goal, and get it finished by the end of the year. BTW, I have DRAGON’S TEETH on my TBR. 🙂

    • Xaniver

      Yay! Let me know what you think when/if you read it 🙂

  • Nickie Anderson

    Congrats on Dragon’s Teeth! I’d certainly consider that a success story.

    Like you, I’m planning to do revisions in November. I like revisions about as much as I like washing dishes (i.e. — not at all), so the longer I put them off, the less likely they are to happen.

    • Xaniver

      I actually love revisions and edits – which is a problem because I tend to edit instead of just getting done with that first draft.

  • MsFairyFreak

    I get the who going to college and doing NaNoWriMo thing. I really do. It’s difficult and I never finished. I’m glad you decided to stick with the story afterwards. Good luck with your current MS. 😀

    • Xaniver

      Thank you! Home stretch now 🙂

  • Samantha

    That is such an awesome success story! Congrats!

    • Xaniver

      Thank you 🙂

  • Daisy Carter

    Ooh, great to hear from a vet. I can’t wait to start NaNo – but I know that it will mean a TON of rewriting come January! 🙂

    • Xaniver

      As long as you’re prepared to do rewrites, you’re golden 🙂 good luck and enjoy!

  • Rachael

    I’m a college student right now and last year I didn’t even hit 5k with my NaNo. This year I’ve lost my mind and decided to really go for it. Win or lose, I’m excited to be able to meet with other writers doing something that I love.

    Good luck with your WIP!

    • Xaniver

      Thank you! And good luck with your endeavours too 🙂