Posted on 11/20/2009


Okay, I finished National Novel Writing Month in 19 days. Well, 50,000 words really isn’t a complete novel for most genres, but whatever. I think they should make it a 70,000 word novel in a month.  At my pace, I could have completed a 78960 word novel in a month. Not bad. But then again…not really great either.

Seriously? Nanowrimo motivational emails? Do I really need those? Inspirational columns on the nano website from others writing their dubious works of fiction? Really? (This does NOT count for my twitter friends. I enjoyed their updates because we were in the trenches together…well…not really, but it was fun to see how I was doing against others.) I don’t mean to sound facetious here, but I can’t help it.  Look, writing, no matter how you look at it, is an individual sport, not an all play. Regardless of whether you write in a room of other people, or in your office–you are alone in your own head.

You’re either going to write the words, or you’re not. No measure of cajoling or handholding will help you. 

But all that aside, it was okay. I didn’t like the feeling of writing being a job, but I need to get used to that if I ever want to succeed at this thing.  The weirdest thing is, you don’t actually “win” anything for competion.  You just get to say that you finished the 50,000 words of fiction that may or may not be worth a damn.  I honestly think most people’s will need so much shoring up to be presentable, that they might as well start over.  I havent looked back at mine. I still need to finish the story, but I am taking a short hiatus, maybe a few days.

After doing all this, I have to wonder what I got out of the whole experience. This was my first year, and I can say with surety that I probably won’t do it again.  It wasn’t as much fun as all the pleebs made it out to be. It was WORK.  Maybe for someone who never wrote a book, and wanted to do their first one, then cool, they probably got all excited about it.  Now they have the daunting task of editing, which to me is more fun, but inherently more difficult.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear all you out there now…”But it was just to get your creative juices flowing!”  or “If you want to be a published author, you’d better get used to being under a deadline!”

Please, spare me your rhetoric!   My creative juices flow so much I have to sop it up with a ShamWow!  And guess what? If I was getting paid to haul ass on my writing, I would!  Paying me with a deadline is way easier for me, than doing it, “just cause.”

So you’re probably thinking I am being a sore winner here. I may be. I made it about 90% of the way through a story I had come up with literally days before the whole month started. I am pretty happy with it too. I pantsed the entire story –almost.  I did do a lot of pre-planning on overall story, but I did not plan for many of the things that are in it.  (Ninjas, anyone?)

I wrote an average of 2632 words a day. That’s really not that much. People say you should write every day, I usually don’t.  Life gets in the way, so I guess that was one good thing about nano.  2,000 words a day on a novel is probably a pretty good amount for anyone.  That would give you 60k at the end of a month, and a completely manuscript by the end of two.

What did I learn about the month? Nothing.  Let me enumerate the nothings.

1) A lot of people started NaNoWriMo–most of them won’t finish. (That’s the way of the world. Nothing new here.)

2) I can “pants”.  (I’ve written 4 books this way.)

3) I can write every day. (I knew I could. Question is, why would I? Oh. Yeah. So I could SAY I did.)

4) I met a lot of new cool people….oh…wait! Yeah…okay, that is one good thing. I’ve met a ton of cool new people and I really enjoyed their company while they were toiling away at their work.

I do wonder what other people get out of nano.  I really REALLY do.  Maybe there’s something in it that I didn’t see.  Hell, there probably is.  You tell me, player. Sorry if I sound negative. I honestly did not get it. So what did I miss? What part of NaNoWriMo went over my head? 



Posted in: NaNoWriMo, Writing