09 December, 2009

How NaNoWriMo stole November

Because in November I pretty much vanished from this blog, didn't I? I'm not going to keep apologising or make excuses. Except this:

There was NaNoWriMo.
Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It's short for National Novel Writing Month. You can read more here, but the basic premise is that you have to write 50 000 (yes, fifty thousand) words during the month of November. It can be any kind of story you want, but you're not supposed to go back and read over what you've done and change things, because that slows you down and discourages you. The point is to make you write, however bad it might be; just to let the words flow out, and worry about fixing it later.

Mr Ruby Slippers and some of our mutual friends were taking part, but I wasn't sure if I was gong to have the time and, let's face it, the dedication to do it. But I'm terribly guilty of starting stories and never finishing them. I write the good bits and then I give up after 2000 words, or something. And there was a novel I'd been writing on and off for over two years, which really needed some impetus. In two years I'd written about 16000 words of it, and, while those wouldn't count - everything has to be written in November - it was something I could definitely carry on with. You don't need to write a complete novel, just 50000 words of it.

However, by the time November rolled around, I was still dithering about taking part. Mr Ruby Slippers got cracking on Day One (a Sunday) and wrote even more than the daily target (which was a1667 words). I, on the other hand, went off to rehearsal, danced, painted, sang, and came home exhausted. Wash, rinse and repeat on the Monday and Wednesday, and by Saturday I still hadn't decided if I was even going to take part. And if I did, I was going to be incredibly behind - the target for that day was 11667 words. Still, it was Saturday, I felt bright and chirpy (for once), so I decided to start and see how it went.

Of course, once I'd started I had that "I will not fail and get beaten by my husband and friends" competitive feeling come over me, so I persevered and wrote nearly every day, even when I wanted to throw the keyboard on the floor and scream at my characters for talking like a really bad soap opera. Even when my arms and neck were aching and I just wanted to watch Glee or House or ANYthing that would let me sit back and not have to think about what to write next.

Here's my stats graph for November. Having a graph you can use to see how you're doing compared to the target and compared to others is really motivating! The blue bars are the daily targets, and the brown ones are where I was each day. I started late, but I trucked along just behind target every day, only finally hitting it on the last day. But that's typical of me. I was always the one having to get up early to finish school projects on the morning they were due, and writing essays during break before they had to be handed in. Oh, school. You were...fun in spots, but better to look back on. :-)

Anyway, my point is - I WROTE 50000 WORDS IN NOVEMBER! It's completely crazy, and the book is nowhere near finished, and it's pretty damn sucky, I'm sure, but I DID IT.


And that, readers (if you're still out there!) is what happened to my November. Well, it's part of what happened to my November...


  1. Congratulations! That's quite an accomplishment! Now you can just to back and edit and it'll be so much easier, right? :)

    I can't wait to hear about the REST of your november. :)

  2. Oh, that is a totally acceptable reason to skip out on blogging! Congratulations on meeting the challenge! :) How is your novel looking?


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