Tag Archives: nanowrimo

November is Coming.

2013 NaNoWriMo Participant

It’s that time of year again.

As soon as October rolls around, the NaNoWriMo machine lurches into action. Eventually, I see an email, and I think ‘huh, I should probably think about that’. I then ignore the issue, wait until the morning of 1st November, come up with a half-assed plot and then stress over that for a month.

It doesn’t seem to be happening like that this year.

For a start, when that first email came round, I thought ‘huh, if I end up doing it, I should probably donate.’ I donated in my first year, but not since then. And I love NaNo, and I want them to keep on doing what they’re doing. So I went on the store, and saw the NaNo power-up mug.

November is coming. #nanowrimo

+20 buff to hyperactivity for 30 minutes. SOLD.

Then I was like, well, I’ve bought a mug, so I may as well participate. I’ll think about it later, though, make a proper decision when I’m better able to do so.

Then a couple of nights later I dreamed my plot. No joke. I’d had no proper sleep for weeks, and then the first night I actually sleep long enough to dream, I come up with some batshit crazy plot which is part dystopian future, part psychological thriller, part metaphor for modern life. I have two ready-made, reasonably interesting characters, a full world, and a reasonable premise around which to build the whole thing.

So, the preparations are beginning. I have multiple files of brainstorming notes, across DropBox, Evernote, and my snazzy red notebook. I’ve switched onto movie soundtracks for running so I can drift off into plot points while I tread the promenade. AND I just realised that I booked a week off work in November.

brace yourselves: November is coming

Anyone else in? I am whoopscareless over there, and I am open to buddies if you tell me where you found me. 😀

FO Friday: NaNoWriMo ’12

In the early hours of this morning, 30th November 2012, I reached the ultimate goal: 50,010 words.

Winner 180x180

The stats:

  • Final verified count: 51012
  • Average daily word count: 1759
  • Days of active writing: 19
  • Word count per day active: 2684
  • Number of plots used: 3
  • Number of unrelated ‘short’ stories written: 4
  • Number of times I made myself cry: 3

It wasn’t easy, this year. I did a lot of things wrong, spent too much time procrastinating and doing other things instead of concentrating on my story. I flounced at the most minor interruptions, claimed writer’s block when really I was too busy faffing on the internet. I drank too much coffee and far too much wine.

Wait… that’s what writers are supposed to do. I take that back.

I’m not sure where I went ‘wrong’ in comparison to last year; it’s not that the plot was better last year because it really wasn’t. But last year, I did manage to stick to the same story for the full 50,000 words. This time, I really struggled, and kept writing people into corners, making them do things that didn’t make sense. They swung wildly between totally irrational and bitingly logical; at one moment doing stupid shit that made no sense, and then the next refusing to do something because it just doesn’t feel right, mew mew mew.

I liked them, though, as characters. I may not have represented them well on the page, but they were cool to be around. If a bit angsty. I dreamed of them, at one point. We were doing a crossword. My other half woke me up just as we were about to get 17 across and I was very irate.

Things I learned:

  • The thing I thought was a plan? Was not a plan.
  • I need to spend more time away from the internet.
  • I need to read more. It is hard to write a well-paced scene – well, any scene – when you read nothing but forum posts and memes.
  • Coffee + movie soundtracks + full-screen text editor = frightening but super-productive hyperfocus.
  • I really enjoy writing.

Vale Fireworks last night.

NaNoWriMo: feeling cautiously optimistic

We’re just past the half-way mark of this year’s NaNoWriMo, and all is well on this end. In fact, I had an astonishing burst of creativity over the weekend, which included not only two 5k days but a 10k day. Yes. Ten thousand words. In a day. I felt like a god, albeit a god with bloodshot, gritty eyes and shooting pains in my elbows.

Tip: Movie soundtracks are marvellous for blocking out the world and letting you really concentrate on writing, but be warned that they may trigger hyperfocus so intense you forget to blink.

So I find myself a good few thousand words ahead, which has allowed me to take a few days off to tool around with some other writing projects. I know the idea is to write on it every day, but it’s good to get some distance and bash out the unrelated ideas so they don’t bug me or force their way into the NaNo storyline.

That distance also gives me the chance to stick my fingers in my ears and say LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU to my internal editor who is doing her best to make me feel bad. I’ll think about whether she’s right, whether there really is nothing salvageable from the dross escaping my fingers, in December. Maybe.

And let’s face it, many people will already have abandoned their novels. Characters have been written into corners, entire outlines expressed in a fraction of the intended word count. A sea of writers are sitting, head in hands, as a thousand internal editors dance cruel victory dances on the bytes and pixels of their dreams.

So I’m doing pretty well. You?

NaNoWriMo Challenge: The 5k day

Like many people attempting NaNoWriMo, I woke up this morning facing a stern challenge.

Due to a week of procrastination and related artistic flailing, I’d fallen quite a bit behind on the required word count. To be precise, on Thursday I found myself 5576 words short of the target.

Like many people attempting NaNoWriMo, I thought the unthinkable. I actually considered ditching the whole thing.

Fortunately, GrumpyCat wafted her way across the internet, and said no.

grumpy cat says no

See? GrumpyCat is srs bsns, so I knuckled down, spewing over 2000 words of loosely-related nonsense into my poor beleaguered text file.

I emerged, blinking, into the Friday morning light, a good 4500 words in the red. I was nervous, let me tell you. But once again, the internet came to my rescue.

During my morning perusal of my RSS feeds, I came across a set of pictures from an awesome site called Retronaut. Normally a site of cheerful, cutesy retro pics of happy events, I was sucker-punched by some fairly graphic war photography.

Unable to deal with this like a normal person, I incorporated it into my NaNo. Suddenly, my urban fantasy is a gritty war story. And 5000 words longer than it was this morning.

I’ll take it.

So anyway; here is the point of this post, and the meaning of the title. I hereby challenge you, the NaNoWriMo-er in crisis, to do a 5k day. Do some sprint prompts, look at some photos, take any inspiration you can find and run with it. Tweet the results with the hashtag #5kNaNoDay. You can do it!

Battling the internal editor

One November morning, I was sitting at my desk, working on my NaNo. Suddenly, I heard a noise. My hands paused over the keyboard, the flow of words immediately staunched. Footsteps. Unmistakeable. In my house. Coming up my stairs.

I turned around. At the door, was me. To be precise, a facet of me, a part of my personality made flesh.

My internal editor.

She settled her glasses more firmly on her nose, and drew a large red marker pen from her pocket. She gestured for me to move away from the keyboard.

Dumbstruck, I followed her instructions. Moving over to the computer, she removed the cap from the pen and scrawled these letters on the screen.


We stare at each other. My shoulders hang heavy, and it feels as though my strength (and hope, and happiness) is dripping from my fingertips as I realise the significance of my alter ego’s refusal to read my text.

She makes some insolent gesture at me. With all the strength of my mind, I will her to die. She grins wickedly, and visibly grows in height.

Damn it all.


NaNoWriMo is already live in tomorrow-land, but at time of writing, I still have about 10 hours to wait.

NaNoWriMo wordcount graph

While I wait for the clock to tick down, it’s time for the final preparations.

Step 1: Get widgets in place.

You’ll notice mine over on the right there, and I’ve also updated a couple of other profile pages. This is probably the most important step. Well, it’s the one I always do first, anyway. Get yours here.

Step 2: Prepare implements of choice.

This year I’ll be using Sublime Text 2, because it’s so shiny. There is a word count add-on, I can sync it over DropBox, and I should even be able to write on my iDevices.

Step 3: Prepare Real Life for the onslaught.

Stock up on coffee. Plan meals. Clean the house now, if only because it’s so easy to get carried away buffing the skirting boards when you’re supposed to be writing.

Step 4: Get the support network going.

There are all sorts of resources out there to keep you on track; dive into the forums, follow the tweets from NaNoWordSprints for some awesome inspiration and challenges, or put your life in the hands of technology.

Step 5: *crickets*

You may be thinking that I’m missing something fairly crucial; namely, how about planning the actual writing, you crazy woman. But that, to me, is the least of my concerns. I mean – that’s what November’s for, right?


And so, the insanity begins.

As you may have spotted in my last post, (inter)National Novel Writing Month is about to begin.

This is my favourite time in the process; brimming with optimism, plots forming, coalescing, and crashing into each other like so many icebergs of creativity.

Icebergs + Penguins

Yep. Complete with penguins.

I become convinced that everything I see is worth noting down for inclusion in my story. For example, I was on a run earlier this evening. While trotting along, a half-eaten apple fell from a tree that was not an apple tree. I became convinced that this should form some part of my plot. Some kind of sign, a portent even. Possibly related to the abandoned bag of sand I spotted by a garage. Then I saw a man hugging a TV and let me tell you, if that doesn’t appear by chapter 5, I’ll be very surprised.

Anyway. There’s a little glimpse into my particular brand of insanity. Are any of you planning on joining in? Any other similar experiences?

Blogtoberfest < NaNoWriMo

Bad planning on their part, really. They should have put at least a month in between the two for respective recovery and preparation. It’s hard to pull a blog post out of your arse when you’re too busy researching the harvesting season of chickpeas.

Yes, I’ve decided I am doing NaNoWriMo (thanks for the encouragement!). I have a vague plot, some characters, and a setting. I’ve spent the last few days doing some ‘research’, mostly from wikipedia (it’s a novel, it doesn’t have to be that accurate, right?). I’ve made vast lists of questions that I need to answer before I can write, or while writing. I have trawled the internet for pictures related to my topic (my desktop now cycles through them to be a constant source of inspiration). I feel – almost – prepared.

However I am a teensy bit terrified. In a perfect November, I would aim for 1667 words a day. I’m already losing at least five evenings to already-planned events, so that brings it up to 2000 words immediately. Factor in my notorious inability to stick to *anything* for that long and I’m going to have to write 10,000 words a day for the five days I manage to do any writing at all. While probably being completely dissatisfied and disheartened by the entire thing because I am not allowed to edit.

However, fear not – I’m not disheartened yet. How can I be disheartened with all these pictures of goats on my desktop?


I’ve just learned of the existence of National Novel Writing Month. Basically, you take November to spaff out 50,000 words, and ba-baaa! You have a draft for a novel. This, as I tweeted earlier, interests me.

Like billions of other kids before me, I wanted to be a writer. I had folders full of stories. I wrote science fiction, I wrote Mills & Boon, I wrote some alarmingly violent horror. Then one day, there came that ‘careers’ day. Careers days were excellent for those of my classmates who knew from the age of five that they wanted to be a vet. They could be pointed towards the right A-levels, pointed towards the right work experience, and were generally a joy to assist. I, apparently, was not. We were told to write down a list of five jobs we would like to do. Three of mine were writer, fashion designer, and astrophysicist. I think I was asked what I wanted to write about. I didn’t know. And that was the end of it. Barely anyone makes it as a novelist. And journalism is really hard to get into. Might as well give up now.

I’m not trying to say I HAVE ALWAY WONTED 2 B A RITER AND THEY TRAMPLD ON MAI DREEMS but come on. They didn’t even try. I would try so hard to think of things I could see myself doing and every time it was greeted by ‘you can’t do that’ and no alternatives. I am so jealous of people who know what they want to do with their lives. You do not know how easy you have it.

Anyway, bitterness aside, I have several novels in me. They try to come out sometimes, before paranoia and self-doubt beat them back into submission. I get an idea. I ponder excitedly, thinking of what I can do with it. Then I do a little research, realise how little I know about the subject. I don’t want to look stupid. Then I start to wonder if anyone else has come up with the idea, and I’ve just not read it. How bad would that be? Unintentional plagiarism doesn’t look like that from the outside. And, if something has already been written, how arrogant is it to think that I could write anything better?

This is why NaNoWriMo seems like a good idea. There are no rules. Just get the words out of you. It doesn’t matter how good it is, just that it is. After that, the only way is up.

And there are signs. I have conveniently discovered its existence just before the relevant month. As I was sat wondering if it would be a good thing to do, a new concept and proto-plot popped into my mind from nowhere. As I was adding the NaNoWriMo link to the top of the page, the http text appeared in the ‘enter link here’ box before I’d even typed it.

So I’m tempted. I have nine days to decide if my idea can be expanded into a full novel with interesting characters and plot devices that would make Aristotle proud. What do you think I should do?