Here’s How You Flush Your NaNoWriMo Efforts Down The Crapper


National Novel Writing Month does not matter.

Not now. Not that it’s (almost) over.

It mattered before, sure.

It’s what stuck you in the ass with a stinging thistle. It’s what got your crap-can out of bed to pound keys and make the morning word sauce. It lit the fire. It sent the smoke signals whirling up into the sky.

Good. Great. Excellent.

Now it’s gone and — what?

Now: it’s artifice. Seeds on the wind. A placebo drug with a real effect.

I did an unofficial uncounted version of NaNoWriMo this month — not because I felt like playing along but because I had 30k written in the latter half of October and needed another 50k to finish a novel for deadline. So, quite conveniently, I had the proper word count to slot into November. (For the record, I’ve since written over 50k, as the novel’s running a hair longer than expected.)

Here’s how I could fuck that all up:

I could assume that November is the only authorized time to write a novel.

I could take the 50k I wrote and be done with it.

I could stop writing beyond the margin of the event.

I could leave the manuscript as the smoldering pile of word puke that it probably is.

I could choose to save it from the fires of a scorching edit.

I could choose to keep it away from agents and publishers and readers.

I could let it lay like a half-a-fish on a sun-baked dock. Rotting. Drawing flies.

I could let it be game over, goodbye.

The point is, writing is never about that one segment of time in which you write the first draft. It’s certainly never about 50k, which barely counts as a novel in most practical instances (here is where you chime in and tell me about all those novels that were only 50,000 words long and I say yes, yes, that’s true, but those are the exception rather than the rule, but thanks so much for playing).

Simply put, writing is rarely about writing.

Writing is about thinking. And planning. And rethinking and replanning. Writing is about rewriting. Writing is about breaking it all apart and putting it back together again. Writing is about running it through the gauntlet. It’s about editing. About criticizing. Writing is about the craft of putting one word after the other and then stacking them atop one another. Writing is about the art of the story. Writing is about the crass and unpleasant dance of commerce. Writing is about you first, and the audience ever after. Writing is about sharpening the words and honing the tale until it is as sharp as a thumbtack.

Writing is about more than that one month.

Writing is about more than the first draft.

Your work continues. Hell, the work just begins. You fought the first battle of a very long war.

Fuck winning. Hell with losing. This isn’t over by a long shot.

So: here’s what I’m asking you:

How’d it go?

And what’s next? Do you have more to write?

Then what? What’s your plan?


60 responses to “Here’s How You Flush Your NaNoWriMo Efforts Down The Crapper”

  1. You seem to have the same horrible random links to ads that I discovered in my blog today. Glad to know it’s not just me, ’cause this means someone might fix the problem.

  2. I’m not going to get anywhere near 50,000 words. Maybe 30,000 if I’m lucky. But considering I’d been stalled on my novel (the one I started during last year’s NaNo) for several months previous, I still consider that a win in a sense, because it’s 30,000 more words than I probably would have written otherwise. The community support of NaNo helped me break out of the slump I’d fallen into and get moving and motivated again.

    I still have a lot more to do – I don’t know how long this monster’s going to be by the time it’s really done, but it’s well over 100,000 now. But I’m not worried about length at this stage – right now I just want to get the story down, as a first draft. I can worry about the length when I get to the editing stage.

    And one of the best things to come out of this year’s NaNo for me – the small group of people who’ve been meeting up for writing sessions once or twice a week at coffee shops in my neighbourhood want to keep doing it after November ends. Most of us have continuing projects we’re working on, and want to make sure we don’t lose momentum this year, so it looks like we’re forming an ongoing writers’ group to help keep each other on track and focused.

  3. Oh also, to Natalie – I’m not seeing any random ads in Chuck’s blog. If you’re seeing them both here and on your own site, but others aren’t, the problem may be on your end. Maybe you’ve picked up some kind of malware that’s affecting your browser?

  4. I might reach 40 000 words which is about halfway through the novel I have planned. I’m trying to get to somewhere around 80 000 (and therefore to the finish) before January and I think I might be able to because I have so many fewer day job days in December. After that I’m going to choose and edit two short stories for my Clarion application and maybe even write a new short story before coming back to this novel for editing. After that there’s another novel that I’ve been wanting to write for a while now.

  5. I started off with 16K words at the beginning of November and I’m at about 23K now.

    Yes, I have excuses. No, they probably aren’t good enough.

    I am having a great time writing the story though, so I consider it a good step forward.

  6. As much as I like the idea of writers coming together and supporting each other while they all write 50k at the same time, I definitely see where you’re coming from. I didn’t do an official NaNoWriMo either, and I don’t intend to limit myself to writing a novel within November every year either. My NaNo goal this yr was to finish a manuscript (a very short one at that) and quickly edit it before sending it to a competition. On top of that, I’ve started planning the next WiP. But it’s not about November. I’d still be doing the same thing if it were any other month. Hope no one sends their efforts down the crapper now that November is over.

  7. I’ve reached 57k and have enjoyed every minute of it. I’m actually twitchy because I did no words today (long day, medically complicated baby got poked with needles) and I think that *that* means I’m winning, when I’ve turned my love of writing into something resembling an addiction.

    Thank you for your posts this month, a couple of them showed up when I really needed them.

  8. “I could assume that November is the only authorized time to write a novel.”

    The first time I did NaNo I sort of fell into this trap and forced the ending of my project, got very hung up on the ‘winning’ thing. I ‘finished’ the manuscript and ‘won’ NaNo, and I’ve since moved on and finished two more, but those are *really* finished and are going through those next steps. I didn’t NaNo this year, was working on revisions for one of them, but the Next Thing is starting soon.

  9. As the month isn’t over until someone sings ‘Happy birthday’ to me, I won’t say ‘I failed at NaNoWriMo’ just yet…but I’m enough behind that it looks unlikely to reach 50K by the end of friday.

    Am I going to quite the manuscript on Friday? Hell no.
    Am I going to leave it unedited? Hell no.
    Am I going to keep it away from the public etc? Remains to be seen, but once polished I think it can be displayed…
    Am I going to write other things? Hell yes – I have several projects waiting, and an increasing need to try and make something out of them.
    My plan? Keep at it; create stuff, and try to get other people interested in it (ideally crazy people willing to pay me for what I create)

  10. I started a fresh novel in November and hit 50K the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

    Then I put it aside to work on editing/revising last year’s novel to resubmit to a publisher who sent me a Revise and Resubmit email at the end of October. Once that’s out the door again I’ll return to this year’s novel and finish it with another 40-50K words. If the first novel is acquired then I’ll have the sequel already in a draft to send off.

    NaNo’s taught me to write like it’s a second job. I have books from past ‘wins’ that will (probably) never see the light of day. Then again, taking what I’ve learned from later efforts may inform the edits/revisions necessary to make them readable. If I can make room with all the other ideas clamoring for attention.

    So yeah, I’ll write on and keep submitting. Thanks for this post!

  11. I’m throwing the mess into a drawer on December 1st. It needs to fester for a while … er did I say fester? I meant ferment. Right.

    I owe work on another project, so I’ll be getting that out of the way in December.

    I’ll peek in on the fermenting NanoNovel in January, and by peek in, I mean I’ll pull it out and see if there is still as much a story there as I think there is now. If there is, it’ll be time to go to work on it. If not? Back in the drawer it goes.

  12. So here’s a dilemma:

    What do you do when, for the first time that you can recall over the entire course of your life, you genuinely find yourself questioning whether you want to write anymore?

    Whether you still feel it?

    Whether you still *love* it?

    Particularly when it was never about being published, or making it a career, or even getting paid (although the first and last did occur a few times, somehow), but was just about writing to write, when the act of writing was the desire to create and the need to play with language smirking their way through a whirlwind of dirty hotel room trysts and furtive back alley fucking?

    When you suddenly find yourself facing a big wall of “Why?” when fire up WordPad (shush, I dig the simplicity) or grabbing a college rule notebook and the damn near sacred black gel rollerball?

    Not being facetious or looking for justification or any of that shit, mind you.

    I’m genuinely asking, because the idea of life without writing is… kind of frightening, to be perfectly honest, but the fact remains that for a month or two now, maybe longer, I’ve found myself truly questioning not only why I should write, but questioning if I even want to anymore.

    Write anyway? Start casting a wider net in the seas of reading materials, to try to rediscover that spark inside? Assume it’s a sign that maybe it’s time for a break, and just put down the crayons and recharge for a while? Throw in the towel completely?

    Any input, insight, or advice?

  13. I started late and will not hit 50K (unless I achieve word counts in two days of Forbeckian proportions). But you know what? I have 30K words now I did not have when November started, and that is fucking awesome. And as much as I love NaNoWriMo and would’ve liked to “win” it, every single month is NaNoWriMo. And I will finish this shit I started.

  14. Thank you, Chuck, for this and many other posts that kick me in the butt when I need it most!
    I passed the 50k mark and “won” but my novel is far from finished. I am going to finish the very rough first draft and then stick in in a drawer to age a bit. WHile I am doing that, I will be perfecting my query and synopsis for another novel that is ready to be seen in public (I hope) and getting thst out the door in January!

  15. I’m not finished. I hit 50K, a few days ago, but I knew when I started that I would just be kicking off the book. What is fun for me is that two distinctly different novels have spun out of NaNo, and I look forward to following both to their completion.

  16. Before the event started, I created thirty numbered documents in Scrivener. Each of them were major plot points I wanted to cover in my novel. The plan was to write 2000 words for each one, each day of the month.

    Of course the writing process didn’t go as planned and some documents had 6000 words, some had 500. I saw story opportunity from writing certain scenes and the manuscript grew like a patch of weeds instead of the single vine I had envisioned.

    I reached the NaNo goal of 50k on November 15th.

    I let the mess sit in the drawer for one week so I could focus on eating too much for Thanksgiving, but also to have fresh eyes for editing.

    It’s been a lot of fun polishing the prose and building chapters from the scenes I wrote. Also, it’s been satisfying to go back and fix things I couldn’t before (I had a no-backspace policy). Editing is helping me see the entire story more clearly. Exciting ideas come easily when gaps in the story become apparent.

    I’m not waiting until next November to do this again. As productive as I have been because of NaNoWriMo, I realized I can do this all year around.

    And I plan to.

  17. I’ve actually been running a NaFiTFuThiMo campaign… National Finish The Fucking Thing Month. But it actually coincides with my previous goal of writing The End as a birthday present for me so I get four extra days! I do my first drafts with ink and dead trees so a true word count is tough, but my estimate based off of average words per page is that I’ll hit 30k for the month.

    That’s not the mythical 50k needed for NaNoWriMo. Hell, I only hit NaNoWriMo pace once or twice this month. But that’s not really my point with this. I have an infant kid, a day job that affords very little “screwing off and writing” time and I rather like my wife andwant to see her a bit too. I’ve neglected none of the truly important things in my life and I’ve still carved out 30k of words.

    So what I’m proud of is that I’m going to finally write The End before my deadline of next Tuesday. It’s a deadline that I set for myself and actually am on track to accomplish. That’s huge for me. Self imposed deadlines are the toughest to achieve. On top of that, I have been having my most productive month of writing ever. I’ve done that with some words I’m really happy with. Some of them might even survive editing! The finished product should end up around 75k with plenty or room to meat it up.

    I hope this will help kick my habits into a lasting semblence of productivity. Momentum and all. My notebook is full of other ideas that had nothing to do with the novel. I’m gonna power on and ride the frickin wave.

  18. I hit my 50,000 target last night and “won” NaNoWriMo, but I’m not done with the story yet. Not by a long shot; there’s an entire city of damned souls and a final confrontation with the Big Bad I need to get down in Scrivener. That’ll probably bump my word count up to 80,000, which I should reach by the end of December.

    After that, there will be much editing and re-plotting and note taking as I try to get the NaNoNovel into shape. At the same time, I’ll be getting back to work on a Very plotted manuscript I want to write next, unless I decide to dash off a time travel war short story for an online anthology I just found out about.

    I will give NaNoWriMo a lot of credit on this: I’d been stuck plotting and planning for two months plus prior to November, and being given permission to say “fuck it” and dump a seat-of-my-pants story onto electronic paper was liberating. And I like the story! It’s hideous right now, but I think I’m onto something.

  19. @The Right Honorable (Or Perhaps Horrible) Reverend Mad: Writing was always for me like a bad relationship with someone my parents hated. I’d sneak around with it and hide it, embarrassed, oh-my-god-what-if-my-mother-sees-this. Oh, the wood stove is burning? Woosh, quick throw all the poetry in the fire. I said over and over, “I will never write another word.” Tried different jobs, got bored, got another job in a totally different direction, got bored. Went through a 15-year sport addiction (don’t do that, it sucks and it hurts, especially if you take up kick boxing) And when someone asked me what I really wanted to be doing, I said, “I want to write.”

    Now, years later, I’m writing. Maybe it took me all this time to find the peace I need to get it out. Who knows.

    NaNo? I really like the deadline, since otherwise I wouldn’t have one. I’m at 44K and I’ll finish on Friday. I spent a lot of time organizing and structuring this year. It’s like I built a house–the real fun will come when I move in and start to decorate. But for now it gets put away. Now I’m gonna pull out last year’s NaNo, the second in the series, edit ,edit and edit and then independently publish.

  20. How’d it go?

    And what’s next? Do you have more to write?

    Then what? What’s your plan?

    How did it go? 30k words written. It reminds me how much insanity exists in my life and how vital it is to clear out time and just write.

    Do I have more to write? Oh, Hell yeah. I did this less to ‘win’ than to help me keep momentum on my current project. I’ve got a lot more to go, but this did remind me I need to do some detailed planning before I tackle the rest of the book.

    And then what? What’s your plan? Frankly, I plan on having a lovely tea party. Seriously. My writer’s group got together and blocked out time in a local library so we could write, and help each other out. To celebrate a month of not getting kicked out of the library, we’re getting together for a full English tea at a local cafe and talking about what’s next.

    But the writing doesn’t stop.

  21. I’m actually nowhere near the end of the novel as I come up on 50K. This kind of surprised me, because my last two NaNos (both pulpy thriller stuff) were approaching the climax as I crossed the NaNo finish line. It’ll be nice to have something that’s actually a proper length.

    I’m going to be entering this in a contest, so my plan is to hit 50K (hopefully sometime today), then turn around and rewrite the first chapter so it fits with what came later. Then I’ll write through to the end of the draft, and barring advancing further in the contest, set it aside. Then my writing docket is as follows:

    – do a rewrite or two on 2010’s NaNo and get it ready for some beta reading
    – resume research for Pet Project of Mystery
    – go back to a little snippet I found on a hard drive from high school that is utterly amazing (which means I naturally have no recollection of writing it and no idea where I was going with it)
    – actually start Pet Project of Mystery, maybe

    And hopefully some short fiction here and there to keep me sharp. I can’t keep up at the NaNo pace because I have other things I’m trying to juggle as well, but the plan is still to write every day.

  22. Hi Chuck 😀

    I did two projects this year – the first was a “non-serious” Pokemon fanfic. I did finish it (and yes, it was a sight longer than 50k…eek!), but I have no plans to edit or publish it (not that I can anyway). That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile for me – it was fun and it got an idea that I’d been kicking around in my head for years out. It was also a good exercise in organizing my incoherent headspace into a story and objectively identifying weaknesses while I write (“Yep, I’m rambling here. If this was a ‘real’ novel, this would SO be cut.”)

    The other one was my “serious” project, a rewrite of my 2007 Nano (which was a rewrite of my 2004 nano, which was a rewrite of a 1999 non-Nano.) I’m about 70k into that, estimate another 40-60k to finish, and plan on getting another (hopefully) 20k on that this month. I am hoping to get it finished by December 15 or so, so that I can start scratching my head and wailing over the editing process and how I have no idea how to approach it 😀

  23. I tried NaNoWriMo but “writing for the sake of writing for one month out of the year” was a bad idea, for me, and did not leave me with any sort of story. As you said.

    So now I do http://30characters.com because “drawing for the sake of drawing” seems to be better practice for me, because I don’t expect to get a whole story/universe out of it – I only expect a concerted practice effort. And I get it. And I see improvement from one year to the next. So I win.

  24. I met my word count and have continued beyond it.

    My goal was to get as far as possible, then after NaNo work on my previous WIP, and then edit my NaNo project. I’m not sure about my previous WIP, but yesterday I start outlining a new idea.

    Either way my NaNo project is at the point where I tend to let my story sit for a few weeks before I come back to it refreshed and ready outline what I’ve written then add to or edit as I see fit.

    Plus I really *should* get back to querying agents. There needs to be some kind of hormone I can wear to make them come to me.

  25. I used/am using NaNo to jump start a project that’s been in my head for a while. Presently it’s sitting at about 63k and I figure I’ve got another 10-15k to go before the first draft is over. From what I’ve read that puts it nicely in the range for a YA story which is what, I think, it is.

    Once it’s finished it’s going in the bread box until January and I’m going to get started on another project. The hopeful idea is that starting in January I’ll have a project in editing/revision and a project in initial drafting.

    I’m hopeful that the current story will be good enough that after revisions, edits, and some test readers it’ll be ‘the one’ that gets first crack at catching an editor, but I’m going to save that decision until later. For now, it is the one I intend to give that first chance to.

  26. I’m gearing for 70k in November, and plan to push for a finished 80k by the weekend after next. Then I’ll trunk it for a couple of months while I finish rewriting my last novel. Then I’ll start rewriting this one, along with my usual short-story output for the year. I’m thinking it’ll take until about next November….

  27. I write every other day of the year. NaNoWriMo was the only time I’ve ever felt pressured to do it and borderline hated it. I don’t like rules, and I especially don’t like being told that I “failed” because I didn’t make the 50k this month. When, in reality, I DID – just not all in one project. I wrote 12k in the novel, a couple of short stories, a FUCK TON of articles for OFW… I’m glad it’s over. I can get back to loving that moment when I slide into my desk chair with a glass of wine and a penchant for trouble.

  28. Like you, I was at the 30k mark with a WIP when I started NaNoWriMo. I’m now hovering somewhere near the 60k mark; so I didn’t hit the 50k and I’m not likely to by the Nov. 30th deadline. But, as I told my writing group, I live NaNo every day. I’m writing, thinking, planning, revising, shuffling, cooking up creativity each and every day. Back in 2005, NaNo helped me refocus my writing efforts. Over the years it’s taught me more and more about the process, my process, how to get better, write more, faster, and finish on deadline. This month of NaNo ’12 sucked monkey butt personally. A house full of sick kids and company and illness struck me down for too many days as well (still got the icks as I type this). But, the part of the write life that NaNo can teach me is over — save the encouraging other writers; and again, I do that every day now, too, with my writing group.

    This is the year I step away from NaNoWriMo for good. I have handed over my municipal liaison reins to a writer who’s just discovered the joys of NaNo the last two years and still feels like she has something to learn and give. It’s kind of like graduating from college and now I have to do the real deal out in the world. Considering I actually have story submissions (for money) due in the next days and weeks, it’s clear I’ve up’d my game beyond NaNo.

    Now I have more to write to finish this WIP. But, I don’t feel pressured to finish by Nov. 30th — especially given day-job freelance projects, the above mentioned pieces due, and my domestic responsibilities. Like I said, I live the writing life every day. Long time ago, NaNoWriMo gave me the permission to live like this for a month, to see if I could hack it, if it truly was the joy I had been dreaming about. Then in 2008, I started giving other people the motivation and permission and lead them to enjoy their passion for writing.

    It’s time to pass the torch.

    Oh, and it’s time to quit farting around on TerribleMinds and go write.

    BTFO!
    HeroProtagonist

  29. Great post that I shared with others in my NaNoWriMo region. After eight years of doing NaNoWriMo, the “50 000” words in a month thing is something I know I can do. I spent all of last year editing the novel I wrote in NaNo 2011, and now all it needs is one more round of editing. This month, I took a half-finished manuscript from 2010 and reworked it to the tune of about 70 000 words so far, which I’ll have to keep working into December to finish. That’s okay. One of the best things I’ve learned from NaNo is how to keep momentum going, and the goal over the next year is to keep that pace going.

  30. So I spewed somewhere over 50k worth of word-vomit this month before I scrapped the whole thing and started over — now sitting at 16k.

    Still, it wasn’t a waste. Somewhere along the way I built a fairly solid outline, fleshed out the cardboard cutout characters and found a deeply personal theme that snuck up on me and makes me a little uncomfortable. I’m still not sure if the story is something worth keeping, but after this much work I feel like I can’t let it die.

    So that puts me at the hard part, the place where I always lose interest: I’ve got the whole thing laid out in front of me, so it’s less about creativity or inspiration, more about execution. Execution is friggin’ hard.

  31. “Writing is about thinking. And planning. And rethinking and replanning. Writing is about rewriting. Writing is about breaking it all apart and putting it back together again. Writing is about running it through the gauntlet. It’s about editing. About criticizing. Writing is about the craft of putting one word after the other and then stacking them atop one another. Writing is about the art of the story. Writing is about the crass and unpleasant dance of commerce. Writing is about you first, and the audience ever after. Writing is about sharpening the words and honing the tale until it is as sharp as a thumbtack.

    Writing is about more than that one month”

    AMEN!!!!

    Writing is about getting the story right – no matter how many words and how many drafts it takes.

  32. A week into NaNoWriMo, a short story I had written November 1st dropkicked the novella I was busily stretching to a novel. “Shove off,” it said. “My turn.” (It wants to be a novel.)

    If I hadn’t finished a thrice rewritten a first novel earlier this year, watching a short story beat up on a novella would have scared the crap outta me. Hell, I’m already doing Tuesday night Flash. What’s next? Haiku?

    Write, rewrite, rip apart, start over. You’re nailing it, Chuck.

    My word count across all fronts for November will wind up over 20,000. No NaNoWriMo win but still 5,000 more words than last month, and let’s not talk about all the “planning” I did last summer.

    For everyone of you who won NaNoWriMo, congrats. Take that wind and blow your numbers off all winter long.

    Wanna see you in print.

  33. @The Right Honorable (Or Perhaps Horrible) Reverend Mad

    I’m feeling like that right about now. Speaking only for myself, I know with almost perfect certainty that it’s self-doubt talking. I’ve felt it too many times in too many different disciplines.

    I’m a working creative: I get paid to produce art, design, etc. I’ve been doing it for around 15 years or so and almost every single project I hit a point where I question why I’m doing what I’m doing. There are all sorts of reasons for it (for me, it’s usually that I’m emotionally or mentally overloaded) but the solution is always the same: I push through it.

    Asking why in the middle of a project is flirting with giving up. I’m always too deep in my fear and frustration to be able to answer “Why” with anything approaching honesty. So, finish the thing first, and ask why on the other side. So far, when looking at what I’ve built once it’s done –even if I hate the result – has been “Because I enjoyed it.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but the projects that I have to push through usually turn out to be some of the better things I’ve produced. Not sure that makes much sense, but there it is.

    Hoped this helped rather than just giving me an excuse to vent.

  34. I did NaNo unofficially too and am at 47K as of this morning. My goal in trying this was to see if I could stay on task with just one story–instead of flitting between 15 or so WIPs–as well as get it to be that long in a month’s time–I’m a short story writer so novels are harder for me. I’m feeling hella confident at the moment because the story’s damn near that 50K marker, but is still about only 70% complete, plus I did stay on task the entire month. I’ll keep writing on this until it’s complete, polish it up, and send it out, then I’ll turn to the next WIP and set the same time frame and word count goals for myself. I think this process works for me and I’m excited to see where I take it.

  35. I am just over 5k from ‘winning’, and this is my Saturday. I’ve got it in the bag. I’m also getting to the climax of my novel since I already had a good 10k written previously, and my first drafts are always shorter than the finished product. I can see some of the places I need to expand, at least one glaring continuity error, but I’m almost at the end of this stage and I am running around in circles with excitement.

    Come December, I return to revising the first book in this series with the advantage that I have a better idea of what I need to set up going into this book. I am also incredibly excited about this. In another year or two, I’ll be ready to start getting book one out the door and into the minds and hearts of agents 😉

    In other words: HOLY CRAP THIS STORY, I LOVE IT AND CAN’T WAIT TO SEE ALL ITS AWESOMENESS!!!

    Ahem. Carry on.

  36. How it went: I started writing again. I, uh, took a hiatus from nearly everything in October (no I didn’t quit. My dad died, there have been issues, blablablah). I don’t NaNo, but I keep an ear open in the direction of NaNo, and have been motivated to start back in. I jumped from the place I left my story to the place it had to end up. I’ll fill in the middle later. 1,511 words this month.

    I have more to write. Hoo boy do I ever have more to write! There are at least two series stories in my head, plus three or four stand-alones. Next is scheduling my time and putting fingers to the grindstone. Keyboard.

    My plan is to take over the univer– no, wait, that’s not it… My plan is to finish this story, write the next two books in this vein, write one stand alone, write the three books of the next series, and then another stand alone. Wash, rinse, repeat. And look into publishing at some point.

    Bonus question: my goal is to use my novel-writing skills to pay off my student loans.

  37. I ‘finished’ NaNo two days ago because the draft was done. Thankfully it came in at 62,000 words. Since the 26th, I’ve done plot work on two possible projects and some character development on a short story that I have plans to revisit on the first of December.

    I gave myself the rest of the month to do some housekeeping on projects I hope to do as well as the one I have set up to start on the first. So many words… So little time. 🙂

  38. How’d it go? Craptacular. I’m not even managing 20,000 words, do to crazy life stuff like unexpected moves.

    What’s next? Well, as you I wasn’t starting a new project, so they crappy wordcount isn’t as big a deal as it could be. I’ve got a non-fiction book about ready to be sent out to an editor. My novel, given my crazy writing style, is about 32,000 words and just ready to start the first draft. (What I have at moment is more of a really detailed synopsis. In the process of writing my ‘first draft’ I’ll be revising some major plot problems I discovered in writing my long-assed synopsis. I also have a new idea in the research stages.

    My plan? Write. Write lots. Then revise, then repeat.

    Many thanks for describing your ‘writing calendar’ in your last post – a great idea, and I took a couple hours out of my writing time yesterday to set up my own excel sheet.

  39. @Laura Libricz Crap, I thought I was the only one who threw my poetry into any convenient fire.

    Okay, I still do that with poetry. I’ve gotten better about other stuff.

  40. While NaNoWriMo is not ideal, it is helpful to those of us who love to write but can find a million excuses not too (or not to work on your book). I am happy to say I completed a novel in 2010 and 2011. I have let them sit and tried to edit but mostly lacked the discipline needed to do so. So this year’s NaNo was editing my 2010 novel instead of working on the third book in the series. It was originally about 52K and is now 53K but it’s not done. I need to let someone else look at it, sit on it, and then make myself work on it again.

    Writing is never just a single process but some do need help just finishing the story. I had a novel I worked on for 15 years. After that time period, at 32K words into it, I chucked the novel as an individual piece. Some of it is now in my other two novels but most will never go anywhere. What was my issue? Trying to edit as I wrote. It took too long since writing and editing are two separate mind frames.

    So while you are entitled to your own opinion, don’t degrade those who it works for.

  41. This is why I’ve set my Scrivener project target to 75,000 for the book I’m writing. And I’m cheating a little on my word count, because I’ve re-written a few scenes and I’m keeping the old ones in my word count, because hey, I wrote them all this month, so they count for that. But once this month is over, I’m going to toss the ones that don’t fit anymore, because they won’t matter anymore. But I fully intend to keep plugging away at this story until it’s decent, long enough, and not filled with plot-holes.

  42. I started at 70k this november and have been trying, not to add 50k, but to get to the goddamn end of the book. Unfortunately, I hit 40k last night and am still nowhere near the end of the book. (sadface) I have a nice thorough outline that I really am following and sticking to, and yet So Much needs to happen before the end that I’m beginning to wonder if it won’t end up being 160k by the time I sort it all out. I do tend to overwrite, and I know I can trim on the second pass, but it’s kind of overwhelming.

    I also have another project that I’m supposed to be working on which got shoved to the side for Nano, but there are so many problems with the nano project that need to be thought out, I think I might have to switch into rewrite mode for that one as well. I was hoping to get to the end first though. *sigh*

  43. I hit 46K words yesterday, so I’m on track to meet the deadline if I push a little. I’ve been writing this as a “scriptment” for a graphic novel–it’s only a “novel” in the sense that it has a (hopefully) coherent story arc and lots of dialog. Really, it’s a highly detailed outline. But by tomorrow night it will be 50K+ of actual story words (not random elbows-on-keyboard banging), so I don’t care about how you might categorize it all too much.

    Is it a steaming pile of crap? Natch.
    Is it salvageable? Dunno.
    Was it fun to write? Some days.
    Will I keep writing after November 30th? Well, duh.
    Will I do NaNoWriMo again? Dunno. It was a good way to kick myself in the ass and get moving, but the artificial stress of needing to “win” has kind of taken the joy out of writing this month.

    “Joy? In writing?” you say. “Writing is HARD WORK. It’s a holy calling! You must self-flagellate before the Word Alter you unworthy WORM!”

    Fuck that shit. I have a kids and a day job. I write to entertain myself in my limited spare time.

    So, likely 2013 will be NoNaNoWriMoFoMe–but I still think it’s a great exercise and props to the folk who can do it every year and pump out a kajabizillion words before Turkey Day even.

    You rock.

  44. How’d it go? I’ll hit 50k- barely.
    Then what? Put it away for a bit. I can’t edit well right away.
    Plan? Um, plan, yeah, there’s a plan. Really…
    Seriously- two short stories to final polish and send on their merry way in the abyss of submission land. And the NaNo novel from a few years ago that I am still ripping apart and putting back together, hopefully in better shape. And there are a few ideas circling about.
    So, yes, I like NaNoWriMo. It gets me concentrating on one thing and one thing only. But you are so right- it’s what happens after that matters. If I don’t keep it up, if I let myself get lazy, well, I guess I pretty much wasted a whole month, didn’t I?

  45. I’m just about at 50K, with a day and a half to do the last little bit. Tbh, I think what I’ve got so far is pretty darned good. Which is nice, because it gives me a solid platform for doing the crap-load of work that still needs to be done.

    What’s next? Finish. *Really* finish. Then drawer it for a bit, and then see what I’ve really got. Meanwhile, finish the other book. And get my butt back to querying the *other* other book.

    @Reverend Mad: Have you tried creating in some other medium, like painting or music or whatever? Maybe the creative impulse just needs a change of pace for a little while.

  46. I was doing swimmingly, on target at about 35k, until Thanksgiving came along and I just kind of…stopped. I lost interest in the whole competitive nature of it in one fell swoop. I’m certainly not done with the manuscript, it just turned out to be a lot bigger than I thought it would be, so I might set it aside and let it breathe for a while. Work on my other projects (already started a short story, one that I could see working as a novel if I so choose). Ultimately, it was an awesome experience, I had no idea it could write that much in such a short amount of time, and I hope to do it again next year. Just maybe I’ll plan better next time.

  47. @The Right Honorable (Or Perhaps Horrible) Reverend Mad
    I would say, take a break. A week, a month – six months. Whatever you feel you need. I’d suggest at least a month.
    If by the end of that time you have an idea yelling at you or an old project that has suddenly come to life in your head, if you’re itching to write, then, you just needed a break. If you don’t, maybe you need a longer break – and if after a longer break you’re still not itching, maybe you need to try something else for a while, as someone suggested above (sorry, couldn’t find the comment) – you might need a change of creative direction. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll Never Write Again – I mean, sez who? So far as I know there’s no rule book saying if you stop you Must Stop Forever. And if you do? It’s your life. You won’t be any less of a person if you stop.
    Anyway, good luck. I hope you find a solution that works for you.

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