We’re Wednesday Wondering how NaNoWriMo was for you?

As regular readers of the blog will know, seven of the nine Write Romantics ventured forth into the scary but exciting world of writing a novel in a single month during November – well 50,000 words of it at least, and here’s how we got on:

Deirdre:

I registered with NaNo on a wing and a prayer, having decided on day 4 that I didn’t want to be left out!  I had every intention of giving it my best shot but got really tired after the first ten days (it’s old age, you know!) then stuff happened which prevented me from getting to the keyboard (excuses, excuses!) but if I allow myself a couple of extra days to make up for starting late, I’ll be up to 30,000 words, and I’m really pleased with that.  I started a new novel entirely for this project.  Spurred on by the target I raced on without editing or researching and since I had no idea I could write in that way, it’s been quite a revelation. I am finding though, that the further I get into the story, the slower I become as the little plot holes are starting to show up and I worry that if I plough on regardless I could end up with too much to alter later if I’ve gone up the wrong alleyway somewhere, or I could even find the story doesn’t work at all, which wouldn’t surprise me as I only spent about 5 minutes planning the thing!

Helen P:

I had to stop Nano to concentrate on getting my second book finished and sent off to my publishers and I think I was using Nano as an excuse to put it off when I knew it needed to be done. So I made an executive decision to stop the Nano and I’m pleased to say I did get book two finished and sent off to my editor Lucy, who I’m praying will love it.

I’ve also made a cracking start on my third book which will be a stand alone novel and already I’m up to over 15,000 words of that which I’m thrilled about. So I’ve probably typed well over the 50,000 words but they are just on different projects.

I’m very proud of all my Write Romantics who have completed Nano and all my other writing friends who have taken part whether they have won or not, it’s the taking part that counts.

Jackie:

I started off well with Nano and was really pleased with myself for the first week or so. I think my downfall was spending time poring over the old MS that I was re-modelling. I copied and pasted some of my old story and started editing it. Nooooo, I hear you cry, but I just can’t seem to write without editing now, which is not what Nano is about. My writing then felt like I was swimming in treacle and I wasn’t getting the buzz I had when I started. I knew that I’d failed in meeting my target, so just for a couple of days,  because I couldn’t bear to look at my Nano Novel anymore, I dug out my Victorian Potteries novel that I’d done two years previously at Nano time and not done much with since. Enjoyed musing over the changes I would make and after that enjoyed writing my Nano Novel again although I knew I was out of the running. Now am back in the saddle and although I’m disappointed that I didn’t complete the 50,000 it has given me 30,000 odd thousand words that I didn’t have at the beginning of November, so I take my hat off to Mr. Nanowrimo, whoever you are, and- see you next year!

The NaNoWriMo’ers are dog tired!

Jo:

Early on in the month I was well ahead of my NaNo target and was on course to write about 60,000 words.  However, life got in the way a bit, as it did for so many of the Write Romantics, and I saw that head start run off into the distance and leave me trailing in its wake.  By the final week, I had about 8,000, words catch-up to do in order to hit the 50,000 word target and I managed it… Just!  I had to finish a day early, as I was away for the weekend that marked the end of NaNo, and I limped over the finish line at about 5 pm on the 29<sup>th</sup> November with a validated word count of 50,028.

I’m sure I wouldn’t have written anything like that much without NaNo, though, and in fact I have written a word since.  I am planning to get back in the saddle next week, though, with the view to having a full first draft (about another 50,000 words) by the end of January.  I am going to have my personal FiNoByFe period (finish novel by Feb), if anyone wants to join me?

I can’t promise sophisticated software to work out your word count or motivational meet-ups in coffee shops for sprints, but I will be drinking lots of wine and mostly sitting around in my PJs with un-brushed hair hoping that staring at the laptop screen for long enough will magic up those remaining words!

Sadly, due to unexpected circumstances, I didn’t get to go to any NaNo meets for real this year, but I ‘met’ some really interesting people on the forums and I hope to do better next time.  In the words of Arnie, I’ll be back J

Julie:

At the start of the month, I hoped to win NaNo but was slightly dubious that my job hunt and working 3 jobs across a 7-day week was going to mean I didn’t realistically have time to do it but I’m delighted to say that I won NaNo and even finished a day early (on 29th November) with an impressive 50,521 words.

I’m also delighted to say that draft 1 of novel 2 in my trilogy is finished and I’m probably about a quarter to a third of the way through draft 1 of novel 3.

I said that I wasn’t going to do anything with NaNo other than enter my word count i.e. not get involved in forum discussions or meet-ups and I had to stick to that. It’s not that I don’t believe that these tools would have been helpful or enjoyable but simply that time was of such a premium that there was no way I could do any of those things and write as well. I confess I didn’t even read any of the motivational emails. The only things I did were enter my word count daily, scowl as my bar chart seemed to dip further and further away from the goal line and check the stats of a writing pal who had hooked up to my profile so we could see each other’s progress.

So, what did I get out of NaNo if I did nothing except enter my word count? Oodles and oodles. Because, for me, the “just write” approach is so refreshing. I started book 2 doing it and NaNo enabled me to continue in that “don’t you dare edit or you’ll get a slap” mindset so I could just get the story out there and worry about the descriptions and emotions later instead of spending days/weeks/months re-writing and re-editing the start and never actually moving on. With everything that’s going on in my life at the moment, November would probably have been a 5,000 word month if I’m lucky instead of the 50,500 month it turned out to be and I’m so grateful. It means that, with book 1 in the big bad world seeking representation, I can say to an agent or publisher that book 2 AND 3 are well on their way instead of just ideas. Without the goal of 50k words, I know I would have let life take over.

I had some sticky moments. I had 4 days of doing nothing. One of these was a day off inbetween book 2 and 3 which made sense to clear my head. Another was a night out but the other two were days where I felt shattered. On top of that, I had five days under 1,000 words and another 3 under the daily target which meant I had to do some real hard grafting at the end but a couple of days at the 4.5k mark and another couple at 2.5 recovered things quickly. The one thing I don’t understand, though, is why I can’t apply that same discipline, willpower and determination to my diet. Hmmmm. Answers on a postcard please! 😉

Lynne:

I got off to a great start, then life caught up with me. I had so much on at home I dipped out and didn’t finish. But I will do next year, I consider my efforts this year as an aperitife! 🙂

Rachael:

I didn’t get much more than 16,000 done this time and will give a better go next time.  However, I have had a bit of an excuse having been promo’ing like mad as a result of making the top ten in the HMB So You Think You Can Write competition.  All of that and still running a  business was amazingly time consuming, but the results are in today so expect a posting with some news from me on here soon…..

Technically speaking, we only had two winners but, we hope you’ll agree, there were no losers here.  We produced over 200,000 words in the month between us, had a top ten finalist in an international romance writing competition, from HMB no less, and a second novel winging its way to the publishers – all in the space of 30 days.  So here’s to NaNoWriMo and the other mad folk who joined us in our month of frenzied creativity.  We can’t wait to hear how you got on too, so please, if you can bear to type just a few more few words, we’d love to know!

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4 thoughts on “We’re Wednesday Wondering how NaNoWriMo was for you?

  1. Great summary Jo and a huge well done to everyone; cracking fine achievement. Jo, I’d love to join you in your FiNoByFe endeavours but, like you, I haven’t written a word since finishing NaNo either. I need to get to the end of draft 1 of book 3 before I can go back and start editing book 2 and I think, realistically, it will take until end of Jan to do that. Would be very happy to continue to share word counts and encourage everyone, though. I think I may need to go for FiNoByAp for book 2 and FiNoBySe for book 3!
    Julie xx

  2. Well done everyone and especially Julie – achieving all that with working a seven day week takes some doing! I can’t wait for Rachael’s news or to read Helen P’s second book. So much to look forward to post-NaNo, but must get on with some more writing xx

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