NaNoWriMo – Big Fat Fail

November was National Novel Writing Month and I decided that I wanted to give it a try. The goal was to write 50,000 words throughout the month, creating a rough draft of a novel. When I got started, I knew that it was going to be very difficult. With a newborn in the house, time to sit down and write was tough to come by. In addition, there was my wedding anniversary, birthdays, and Thanksgiving demanding my time and attention.

With limited time to write, I set aside a little time each day and pounded away on my laptop. In the early stages of the month I was able to keep up with the roughly 1,700 word daily guideline. As the month pressed on, I began to fall behind and had to spend additional time on the weekends to catch up. To keep me motivated, I wrote daily blog posts in an effort to keep my eye on the prize.

When the busy portion of the month showed itself, I fell hopelessly behind. For several days I was unable to write anything and lost all motivation to continue. When the closing bell sounded and National Novel Writing Month was over, I had only written a mere 18,000 words. Despite failing, I learned a few important lessons.

  • Writing novel is much more difficult than short stories
  • Having the time to sit down and write on a daily basis is a blessing
  • Without a firm outline, my stories tend to wander off target and require heavy editing
  • I need to pour ny thoughts onto the page and worry about editing later

I was not pleased with the outcome of the project, but I think that I will give it another try next year. Perhaps starting the planning stages more than a week ahead of time, I’ll spend a little less time outlining and more time writing come November. This post, although planned for weeks ago, was prompted by a comment from A Well Aged Cuban.

Comment from A Well Aged Cuban:

Hi Walt, nice to see you back.

Like you my things to read list is never ending, there is always something else on the horizon that I must read…and I love it.

What happened with that writing thing you were doing in November? Hope you plan to get back to your writing as well when you have more time, you seem to have a flair for it. Anyway, happy new year and I hope parenthood is agreeing with you.

Cheers

3 comments On NaNoWriMo – Big Fat Fail

  • I could easily see how you’d get behind. I was worried this year about doing it too, but it turns out that by squeezing in my writing between homeschool lessons (my son attends virtual school at home) and other thiings I was able to squeeze it in.

    I think the key is to aim for MORE than the minimum. My minimum was 2500 words but then I gave myself Saturdays and Sundays off. By scheduling in time off that way, even if I didn’t make my daily goal (I thiink I missed once) I wasn’t discouraged by falling behind. If you take a few ten minute breaks here and threre throughout the day, you should be able to do it. 🙂

    I find having a loose outline helps when you get stuck just to give you direction. If you don’t know what to write next, just write anything, describe a table or something and it will eventually jar out of your subconscious the next thing that needs to happen in the story. It still adds to your word count and you can always edit it out later. At least that’s what works for me…

    Congratulations on your new baby, your wedding anniversary, and those 1800 words you wrote! 🙂

  • You did 18,000 more words than me! My writing life is like my running life. I set goals and sometimes I fall far short but I never, ever stop starting over and setting new ones. I have also decided to have a ridiculously cheerful and optomistic view about it all. At least then I am smiling and cheering others on even as I am picking my scraped bruised self up off the pavement (or the page). I am rooting for you and hopefully I’ll be joining you in the next NaNo!

  • I’d like to paraphrase what I said in October about NaNo (because I can’t remember the exact words, and can’t be bothered to hunt round for it) – even if you fail on the 50,000 words you will have given it a shot – and you’ll have a whole load more words than you would have had if you didn’t do it. 18,000? 18,000!!!!! Have you ever written 18,000 words in a month before? 18,000 is AWESOME. You really shouldn’t feel bad about it. I bet when I have a new born I won’t be writing anything like that number.

    I’m glad you’re positive enough to say already you’re going to try again next year. You know what they say… if at first you don’t succeed…

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