Writing Wednesday – NaNoWriMo?

November is coming up fast, and with it, National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s better known, NaNoWriMo. This is the first year since I’ve been writing seriously that both kids have been in school most of the week, and I always thought that when I reached this point, I’d finally commit and do NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 novel during the month of November. That’s 50K words in 30 days, which works out to about 1700 words a day. It can be a bit of a challenge, unless you embrace the idea behind NaNoWriMo, which is not to write well, but just to write period. In other words, if you slave over every paragraph, every sentence, every word, there’s no way in hell you’re going to write 1700 words a day for 30 days straight. But if you just throw your perfectionism to the winds and churn out the words, then hell yeah, you can get a novel written. And then, once you’ve finished that lousy first draft, you can go back and polish it into a better second, third, fourth or however many drafts it takes to reach the perfect finished state. But you can only get to that point if you write the lousy first draft first.

So anyway, NaNoWriMo is coming, the kids are both in school most of the week, and I’m confronted with the possibility that this is the year I could finally participate in NaNoWriMo. This is the year I could knock out the first draft of a novel in a month, get the second draft done the month after that, and maybe have a finished novel ready to send out by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, or even sooner, depending on how long the rewrite/polishing process takes. And it would be great, really great, for me to do this, except I can’t stop asking myself…

“Could I? Should I?”

I’ve been working since September to clean up my computers and get a new website designed and so far I’ve managed only to clean up the computers (though not redo the laptop from scratch, which was the ultimate goal)  and get the new blog up and running (that’s a far cry from having a complete website done, I tell ya). I’ve still got a few days left in October to finish up that website , and then NaNoWriMo would start. But I’m not sure I want to jump into NaNoWriMo completely cold. I would prefer to have an outline worked out, a little research done… you know, I want the writing pump primed, so I’m ready to bolt once the starting gun goes off.

Then there’s the matter of the three unfinished writing projects still sitting on my computer’s hard drive. One of them is up to 43K long. That’s a lot of words to just leave sitting there unfinished. I know NaNoWriMo is all about starting and finishing a first draft, but I don’t want to start a new project when I’ve got 3 others unfinished and one that far along.

So here’s what I’m thinking of doing – finish up the website by the end of the week. Then the first of November, open up that really long, sadly unfinished project and start reading and getting myself back into the feel of it. By the end of the first week, begin writing again. I think I could do 1000 words a day if I pushed myself. I won’t be writing on weekends, because I just can’t right now. The podcast gets recorded and produced on weekends and that’s about as much as I can do and still have a family and a life of sorts. I reaize this won’t fulfill that 1700 words a day I’d need to do NaNoWriMo, but then I’m not actually doing NaNoWriMo. This is more like PerNoFiMo – Personal Novel Finishing Month.

So that’s the goal. I could get 20K words written this way, and that would bring me closer to finishing the first draft of this novel. Then maybe I can do another 20K in December and actually finish it. Can’t say for certain that 40K total will finish this particular novel, but if not, I’ll do another 20K in January and maybe then we’ll see.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, or some variation of it, let me know. I’d be interested in hearing who’s doing it and what they hope to accomplish in the upcoming month!

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. [New Post] Writing Wednesday – NaNoWriMo? – via @twitoaster http://www.cynicalwoman.com/?p=732

  2. I think that PerNoFiMo is a fine idea. I’m doing NaNo and looking forward to it. I know that what I produce is far from a finished product. I mean I am just “finishing” the real novel version of the thing I wrote for NaNo two years ago. And when that’s done I’ll still need to go back and edit. So yeah like you said it’s all about getting that first draft down.

  3. I’m not only doing NaNoWriMo, but I’m doing essentially 10 NaNoWriMos in a row, 500,000 words in 300 days. http://www.jeffkirvin.net/2009/10/making-writing-a-priority/

    Obviously, I don’t expect to have much of a life while I’m doing this, but it’s been over 15 years now and there’s just no other way this seven book series is going to get written. Sometimes you just have to make writing a top priority.

  4. Scott,

    I’m glad to hear you got a novel written during your first NaNoWriMo. Taking two years to finish it and polish it off sounds about right to me, since that’s about how long it took me to finish off my first novel. Of course, this second novel is taking much longer, since I let it sit on my hard drive so long!

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo this year, and please let me know how you do!

  5. Jeff,

    **10** NaNoWriMos? You’re certainly ambitious! But I do understand what you’re saying. At some point, you have to make the writing a priority, and if you get even half of those books written this year, then you’ve still got a huge success on your hands. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.