The truth about me & NaNoWriMo

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My official word count for NaNoWriMo is 53,383.  The first 30k was completed in 7 days at the beginning of the month.  My initial goal was 30k because I decided to co-write a book with my Mother-in-law where we each take on 30k for the month.  When I finished my portion of the thing, I sat around moping for a couple of days – this unbelievably ridiculous state of mind I get into when I have finished one project and lament I will never come up with another idea again – then struck upon a fresh idea for a book and decided to go for the NaNoWriMo gold by writing another 20k on the new project.  

Great success!

I made it, with time to spare, but the differences in the process of two books were astounding.  The first book had a basic outline, a plot element for each chapter, a handful of characters and a direction when I started out.  It went smoothly and I barely batted an eyelash in the struggle to come up with a plot.  The second book started out with a concept and that’s it.  Despite the fact that I know the ending of the book, I still have no clue where I’m going with it and the tension is waning because of that.


So now I’m taking a break to reexamine the plot of book two and I decided to also examine my experiences with NaNoWriMo.  It was more illuminating than I thought it might be.  

So here’s the truth about me and NaNoWriMo.

I heart structure

I never thought I would say that.  I never thought it was true, but it all makes sense now.  My desk is sparse, I hate stuff and clutter.  I work best on one story/project at a time.  I took a test the other day that said I was a bit more right brained (organized/logical) than left brained (chaotic/creative).  After all this time of thinking I was so damn free wheeling and intuitive, here I am hearting the hell out of structure.  

Well shit.

Plotting is my least favourite part of writing a book, but it seems once I have the basics, I can easily string everything together. If left alone to my own devices (with no structure) I will meander like crazy and get nowhere fast.  

Who knew?


I guess I did, a little.  I guess in a way it’s lucky I like structure.  My desire for order has allowed me to be a successful freelancer for years and helps me to organize my thoughts and life easily.  But on the flip side I look to people who are able to be completely free and chaotic with a little bit of envy or at least great admiration.  Unfettered randomness is something I would love to be able to achieve, but I have trouble with it.  I can’t just let things fall as they may, I have a desire to pick them up and organize them if they are just scattered about.  

I suppose the grass is always greener isn’t it?

I’m a competitive bitch

It all started when I was young.  I was a figure skater and I competed fervently for medals.  I loved me my gold.  And when you’re young they say it’s not about winning or losing but I don’t think I ever really bought into that crap.  It is about winning and losing sucks.  

So now of course, every time there is a winning condition set for something, I’m on it like a woman possessed, teeth bared and ready to kick ass.  

Who am I competing with?


Well in this case no one in particular, but I still feel that thrill of competition which – if I followed it to it’s fullest extent – would probably allow me to tear down anyone in my path to get to the finish line.  It’s brutal and bloody in my mind.  It’s a chaotic mess of stress and holier-than-thou thought patterns.

Holier than who?

I don’t know…thou.  Whoever thou is in the moment.

I’m not proud of it but in a way I don’t want it to change because it really drives me to get shit done.  When engaged in competition I become a brutal bitch of a doer.  Definitely productive, if not completely healthy.

I have carpel tunnel

Never has it been more apparent then when typing around 4,300 words a day.  

Damn it sucks.  

Deadlines stress me out

For mostly the entire week I was writing my 30k I was stressed.  It’s possible it’s because my MC is a psychopath of course, but I think it was more than that.  I was putting a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to see just how fast I could do it.  So literally every moment spent now writing I felt stressed.  I felt like I ought to be writing.  

I feel that way just naturally when I’m not working on a project (or even sometimes if I am) but in the case of NaNoWriMo it was massively amplified.  Now in a way it’s good, because I know I will work like hell in the future when I have actual real deadlines, but I kind of wish there was a way to magically undo the stress of it all.  

I’m not satisfied with less

I think I would be kicking myself if I hadn’t done the full 50k.  I’m not satisfied with halfway to the prescribed goal of a thing.

I felt compelled – even if I didn’t realize it at first – to push my word count forward.  It got me a good head start on my new book admittedly, but in retrospect it might have been good to figure out an actual plan before I started it.  Luckily I’m not too far in that if I have to slash and burn a little, I won’t be completely heart broken.

So there you have it.  The truth about me and NaNoWriMo.


I learned a lot more than I thought I would.


So the question is: will I do it again?


I’d like to say the answer is no.  I mean when I have an idea for a book it rarely takes me longer than a month to write the thing.  Plus I’m hoping to get my actual career as a published writer going soon which will give me all the incentive I need (as if I’m lacking).  

But in the end, I might just concede that my competitive nature will flare up when word of next year’s NaNoWriMo hits the twitterverse and I might not be immune to the allure of something I can potentially ‘win’.  

Because even if it’s not a real competition, I certainly found a way to make it one in my mind this year and I can’t see that part of me changing anytime soon.

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4 thoughts on “The truth about me & NaNoWriMo

  1. Loved this!
    I found that plotting made a huge difference as well. When I ended up off the plotted path it really helped to plot the next day the night before!
    Well done, Star!

  2. Oh man I am the same way when it comes toword count. I was going to just do what I could (i wrote a video game) but as soon as someone mentioned I should still count the 50k beast took over. Congrats! I hope you get some rest!

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