NaNoWriMo Blues

It’s on my mind. It’s on a bunch of people’s minds.*

Everyone who does National Novel Writing Month is getting ready for it, so it should surprise you, if you follow writers’ blogs, that we’re nattering on about it. What we’re doing, how we’re going to do it. Tips on getting started.  Professional writers are even talking about it.  50K, 30 days.

I remember last year, I saw a couple of pro-level writers write that NaNoWriMo was what professional writers do every month [drinks tea with pinky sticking out, sniffs].  I’m not going to name any names; it was more than one.

Now that I’m freelance writing (with greater or lesser, mostly lesser, success), I can say without a doubt that that’s true and then some.  50K words a month?  Sheesh, I have to do that in ten days sometimes, and frell the weekends.  But here’s me–doing it full-time.  I’m not working a full day, coming home, and then trying to plug in 50K.

Not that I haven’t.  I wrote my first NaNo-style book in June-July 2006.  I just up and decided one day that I was going to do it, and the hell with the month.  Then that November I wrote another one.  I’ve been writing 50K every November since–sometimes registering, sometimes not.

But that first one.  It was like running my first writer-marathon.

It was sloppy, and I didn’t know what I was doing.  But that didn’t make it less.

I’ve just started running (on Saturday).  I’m doing the Couch-to-5K plan.  I’m sloppy.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  I don’t know if I’ll ever run a marathon.  You know who runs marathons?  Regular people, mostly, rather than professional runners.  Does that mean that marathon runners are stupid?  That running a marathon for free is stupid?  Nope.

Likewise NaNoWriMo.

There are professional runners who eat marathons for breakfast.  There have been a couple of guys who have run 50 marathons in 50 days, like Dean Karnazes and Sam Thompson.  Likewise, there are a professional writers who can drive the rest of us under the table.  Does that make NaNoWriMo or running a marathon any less hard?  Nope.


Those of us who have finished a NaNoWriMo novel, we should be challenging ourselves to either 1) write more words than we did last year or 2) write a better first draft.  After that first marathon, you shouldn’t be taking as much pride in just finishing.  You should be pushing yourself to a bigger challenge.  This year, 75K is my goal, because that’s how long I think the book should be.  I’m writing a YA about a girl who has to stop a plague of zombies by making a bad deal with a Japanese death goddess, somewhere in between Bleach and Shaun of the Dead.

I am dknippling on NaNoWriMo if you would like to add me as a friend.  Put your name and what you might be writing in comments, and I’ll add you back.  Some people don’t need cheer sections, but I do.

And as always, consult your dictionary before beginning a new writing regimen.

*Ever have one of those days when you feel like your pseudonym is writing your regular stuff? I have this pseudo who is so much more positive than I am.  I feel like she’s taking over today.  Worse things could happen.


And now…


Choose Your Doom: Zombie Apocalypse News


  1. I did it for six years just trying to hit the 50k. Last year I jumped it to 75k. This year I’ve jumped it again to 100k AND I’ve got a competition with my husband to see who writes more words – me, the veteran, or him, the NaNo Newbie.

    I love doing NaNo for the sheer insanity of it, but while I’m not published, I’ve written 50k in a month without even trying to push myself. So this year’s NaNo should be fun.

    • De


      Wait…if you and your husband are both writing, how will you know when to eat?

  2. antialias02

    I agree with you. This time I plan on attempting 2 novels: 100,000 words. This may be a little more bitten off than I can chew, but it will be a new challenge after having successfully written two novels via Nanowrimo (and then editing one of them over the next nine months).

    I’ve got a writing routine in place now. Time to go the extra mile.

    This year I’ll (hopefully) be rocking out a YA and Steampunk fantasy, if I can help it.

  3. Wow. We’ve made eerily similar posts today. Though I think you’ve said it better than I did. Even at a pro or semi-pro level it’s useful “training” if it works for you. It works for me for first drafts.

    Ahem. Anyway, I’m subversivebeauty over there. I’m told I’m a pretty good cheerleader.

  4. Excellent post and so true! This year I’m pushing myself to finish my whole first draft in November. 50K is easy. I’ve proven that to myself twice now. Now the book has to be complete and at least moderately readable. lol

    Btw, I’m msallied on there if anyone wants to friend me. 🙂

  5. Ian

    Great post, De! Last year I nearly hit 65k, my best total to date. I’m not necessarily pushing to beat that, but this will be my 7th year doing NaNo and I guess I’m running out of stuff to prove to myself. LOL. Anyway, I’m linking to your post in one of my own. May it generate you one or two new readers!

  6. I’ve heard a lot of published writers say the same thing, and I agree with you; it’s still a dedication, and it’s still writing. NaNoWriMo gives me an excuse to focus more on writing than anything else for a month — something I wish I had the luxury to do year-round.

    I’m elizabethbarone on NaNoWriMo, and my novel is about a sixteen-year-old girl who keeps a journal while she watches her best friend completely mess up her life.

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