Wednesday, December 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo Wrapup

It's Sunday right now here, and at this moment I have about eighty-five edited pages of my NaNo novel parked in my hard drive. I hope by the time I upload this post I'll add a bit more to that*, but I'm not worried about it. I'm devoting these last two days of NaNoWriMo to writing, not brooding.

I do want to shower virtual confetti over everyone who made it to the finish line and their 50K goal. Wherever you are with your writing, you did something extraordinary here. Something most people don't have the nerve to seriously consider, much less attempt. In the process you've probably discovered a bit more about yourself, too. You lived the life of a working writer; now it's up to you to decide if you want to pursue that and see what you can make of it. And if you don't, I hope you'll try it again during NaNoWriMo 2011, because every novel is different, and so is the writing of it. In the meantime, be proud of what you've accomplished, and congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo.

Last night I was thinking about how badly I did at NaNo this year; how many days in November I spent writing nothing but crap, and the handful when I didn't write at all. I won't lie to you, falling down and failing stings a bit. I'm focused, I can create on demand and I finish what I start. I do this for a living so I should always achieve my goals.

The sad truth is, I'm not a story machine. I'm flawed. I react to things like the emotional creature I am, and I haven't yet figured out how to turn my writing space into an inaccessible fortress of ice. I kinda hope I never will, because all the messy and emotional and time-consuming things that drag me away from the work are equally important to me.

No matter how many slapdowns Publishing deals out, the biz has given me the privilege and the opportunity to share my stories around the world. I was able to be there for Jak at the end, and I believe he left us knowing how much he was loved. I never regret anything I do for my family and friends because they're my people and I love them. Life tossed a few more issues and challenges my way, but that's life. I wouldn't trade any part of my November for 50K.

Okay, maybe opening the premium increase letter from my medical insurance company; that hike was more than a little brutal, but the rest? Was worth it.

Now I'm off to keep writing my NaNo novel, which despite all the turmoil and strife surrounding it is turning out better than I expected. I'm also working on two other new novels due next year, gearing up for revisions on a third as well as a copy-edit for a fourth. And then there's my presentation that I need to put together like yesterday.

For every finish line I cross, there are ever more waiting just ahead, but that's okay, too. That's my writing life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

All right, you NaNo'ers out there, how was your November? Where are you going from here? Let us know in comments.

*My final count as of midnight 11/30: 19,256 words/97 pages


  1. Aw, you did so good! :) 19k is still a lot...I barely have 10k, I had SO much going on it was impossible to find time to write. T_T


  2.'s Tuesday here, but it's been one of those months. Hugs on all your trials. I don't know why, but it seems like this November was just full of them.

    I did manage, by some miracle, to pull out my 50k in the end and the novel currently stands at 53k, about 5k from the end.

    The fact is that all those things fighting to distract you are the same things that make your stories worth reading.

    And boy do I hear you on the premiums :(.

  3. Much to my shock and surprise... I won! I lost most of the 9th and 10th due to a lot of emo and drama with a now former friend, and then I lost a whole week from the 21st to the 28th, due to my ancient mac suddenly just not working anymore. I had to wait for Black Friday to get an almost affordable deal on a new one. There was also a visit from a horrible virus. There was a lot of rapid catching up with things on Sat. and Sun., and on Monday at something like 2 am, I realized I had something like 50,700 words. This was my first crack at NaNoWriMo, and I really loved it, but if I hadn't gotten my word count back up, I would have won anyway, just by stepping up and keeping with it. It was a great experience for me, and gave me a lot of insights into writing in general and myself in particular. Where will I go from here? I have no idea. It's not a complete book, really, and it feels like there are two or three different stories jammed into one place, so I'm going to put it away for at least a couple of weeks, then read through it and see what I have.

  4. I didn't hit 50K (only about 35K), but I did finish 3 projects (a short story, a short novella, and a novel, all of which had been in progress prior to 11/1). The novel had really been hanging over my head, so I'm extremely happy to have finished it.

    Instead of pushing the last two days, I evalutated my schedule through March and immediately began revisions so I can get these works submitted.

    Then editor revisions landed in my inbox on another project for next year. So Dec. is already full!

  5. The irony of my November is that at the halfway point, I was right on track to hit 50K and am pretty sure I could have done it, if life hadn't gotten in the way. I just stopped writing altogether after the 15th, which I'm not proud of. But there were other more important things to focus on, like shifting my career back in the right direction, spending time with my guy when he needed me, and recovering from this damn crud that hit me right at the end of the month. I am going to continue my project though, possibly indefinitely. Writing stories based on other people's art has pushed me into new writing territory and has introduced me to a lot of talented artists I otherwise never even would have heard of. So I consider my November a huge success even though I stopped at the halfway point.

  6. "The sad truth is, I'm not a story machine. I'm flawed. I react to things like the emotional creature I am, and I haven't yet figured out how to turn my writing space into an inaccessible fortress of ice. I kinda hope I never will, because all the messy and emotional and time-consuming things that drag me away from the work are equally important to me."

    That's not a sad truth! Why would you want to be a story machine? The things that take you away from the writing are the things that fuel and inform the writing, and that make the writing worth it.

    I wrote for about a week and a half mid-month before I had to quit to focus on revisions on my last book for my agent. I got 28k, a great start to a new project. No regret there!

  7. Atropa Rainwater3:32 PM

    I hit the halfway point. I could have gotten all 50K if life hadn't dished out a couple pretty harsh smackdowns.

    Life is good at that!

    But seeing how this was my first NaNo, and life did get in the way, I'm happy with what I created. And I'm still chipping away at it, which I also think is important.

    Great job to everyone to made an effort, whether you won or not. :)

  8. I did pretty good, ending up finishing about a day early, which i was suprised about. Half way through i realized that i really under estimated how many words 50K really was, but managed to keep up and finish. (This is my first year!) Now i am going to sit on it for a few weeks, then try to edit it and start sending it out! I think you did great by the way.

  9. I'm happy - I managed to finish a day early despite losing three writing days late in the month to a charity bike ride. I also ended up with two completed middle grade SF novels with a third well on the way.
    I'm now editing the first of those novels and it's going really well. Unlike my 100k+ word 'grown-up' novels these only have one plot strand and one viewpoint character, which makes writing and editing the things as easy as pie.
    Hope everyone else had a smooth NanoWrimo, and look out 2011!

  10. Yeah, okay, I finished the 50k in a week; and that was with a nasty, nasty bug on one day.

    I ended up with 232k - three books; the last one, not surprisingly, with some significant carp in it. I think I hit a wall and the fingers just took over. I shudder to think what's in there, and I ain't lookin' 'til January.

    I'm sure my family is relieved I'm done; my sister says my personality changes during November... and not in a good way :)

  11. My brain after NaNo feels like gray matter mush. I decided it was a wonderful idea to be an ML and make a goal of writing 200K in a month. This was not a smart clump of choices, but I've survived. I have a novella that needs polishing so I can submit it to an anthology call. I have a short story using characters that have been stewing in my head for a long time. I have a YA book that just seems to have a little magic to it when I reread parts. Then I have two unfinished novels that are both different and promising. I think the first three weeks of NaNo I did great; my writing was solid for where I'm at as a writer and there were some days that I felt inspired. That last week/60K is utter crap and should never have been attempted, but its on paper so there's nothing I can do. NaNo this year was a big success. I'm hoping that 2011 is my year for great revisions and moving to the next level, researching agents and make my first query letters to agents.

  12. My NaNo this year was a success, I suppose, since I wrote 94k and got to 50k on day 12. However, compared with last year's complete ease, where the novel(s) wrote itself(themselves), this year was definitely more labour intensive. I had to MAKE myself write. Even if I was averaging 5k a day up until day 12. As soon as I hit 50k I slacked off big time. Still, I did manage to finish the story, and that was all I really wanted.

  13. Anonymous9:05 PM

    I'm curious what sized font you use and the spacing. I'm currently writing a novel/novella that is at 66,301 words, but it's only at 96 pages. Granted, I single space and use size 10 font, but this means I have no idea what it would translate to in a published paperback novel.

    Wided Eyed Raven