Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo


I was a bit shocked to look at the calendar today and realise that it is already February, and then I realised something even more disheartening – that I hadn’t blogged about my NaNoWriMo experiences! So, in a completely untimely and probably irrelevant fashion, here it is – the NaNoWriMo post.

Rather than assume everyone knows what NaNoWriMo is (thought I know you all do) here is a brief description from their website:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

I’ve always found the idea intriguing, and had completing NaNoWriMo down as a goal of mine. I knew a lot of people who had attempted it, with varying degrees of success, and I decided that 2011 was the year that I would stop thinking, and start doing.

In the months leading up to November there was much discussion about NaNoWriMo, people listing their goals and stating their intentions, blog posts listing the pros or the cons, or both, of the whole enterprise. It certainly seemed to be a fairly polarising issue, with some people effusive in their praise, and others damning in their indictments.

One of the most interesting “anti” NaNo posts was from Alan Baxter, who I thought made some pretty valid points, and certainly gave me something to think about. On the other hand, with a writer I respect as much as Tansy Rayner Roberts in the “pro” camp it was hard to write it off. And that was the problem, so many writers I admire on either side. Obviously I would have to do the hard thing and make my own decision!!
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A productive week

Well, the last few weeks have been crazy busy, but the sort of busy that makes you feel like you have been really productive. Over the last few days I have been able to put a few ticks in the win column! The big one is that I sold two stories over the weekend, which is a wonderful feeling. I try not to talk too much about a story until I have signed the contract but the first one is a big one (my biggest sale so far, and I will definitely be talking about it in a post coming soon!), and I am also thrilled with the second sale.

Last year I submitted a story to  an anthology I desperately wanted to get into, but sadly it was rejected. A bit discouraged, I put the story up with my online crit group and it was absolutely panned. That’s never fun, but reading the feedback I realised that the editor had been quite right to reject it, and it had deserved the negative but constructive feedback. It just wasn’t up to the standard it needed to be. However, I still loved the concept despite there being so many things wrong with it. So, I gutted it and added the things it needed, like conflict and character motivation and made sure there was a real story arc.

As a result of that excellent feedback, and an editor who was happy to work with me on making it the best story it could be, I am excited to announce that Venus Transiens will be appearing in the upcoming Horror, Humor and Heroes 3:  The New faces of Science Fiction.

I also have two stories that have progressed to the second round of reading, both in markets that would mark another milestone, and I finally worked up the courage to submit to a pro market. Add NaNoWriMo, and finishing my uni work for the year (I ended up with a HD, a D and HD), I haven’t had much rest.

I also had a wonderfully convivial writer group meeting on Sunday which, as usual, has left me inspired and reinvigorated, and motivated to keep on writing.

Now all I need to do is catch up my Doctor Who watching!

WriMoFoFo Results

On Sunday, WriMoFoFo came to an end. Considering the slow start my month got off to (due to Continuum) I was quite happy that in the end I easily hit 20,000 words. I really had to work hard in the middle of the month to get on track but it was worth it.

You can see from the graph below how I went.

I ended up with three completed shorts (two be critted, and one submitted) and a couple of good starts on some others. Not a bad month’s work!

It was amazing how having set goals encouraged me to write consistently. I never struggle with thinking of things to write about, it is just the getting it on to paper (well, the screen if we want to nit pick) and the stories I completed were ones I have been thinking about writing for a while, but just never got around to. Normally it is deadlines that force me to write which doesn’t leave much wriggle room, I see this as a much more efficient method.

I was so impressed with how this focussed my writing that I am going to adapt the spreadsheet for ongoing monthly use. This month I am setting a 15,000 word goal as I want to do some editing of what I wrote over the previous period. I am even seriously considering NaNoWriMo now that I have seen what goal setting can achieve!

A big thanks to Elizabeth for coordinating this, it has been great. Hopefully now I can kick on and make achieving these sort of writing goals the norm, not the exception.