Things I’m Discovering During NaNoWriMo

Several years back I dabbled in NaNoWriMo but I didn’t commit. That story never got finished and it never will (mostly because I’ve been pilfering scenes and characters here and there for other, better stories). So I didn’t really get the full NaNoWriMo experience. I wasn’t connected to the larger NaNo community and I didn’t post word counts on the website and I didn’t live, breathe, and eat my story for a month.

This year, I’m committed to the full package. And so far, this is what I’ve discovered:

1. Writing from 1st person POV when your protagonist starts the story in his teens (and isn’t a serious student) is extremely limiting. I want to use the kind of vocabulary I have as a 30-something-former-English-major-turned-copywriter-and-novelist…but I can’t.

2. Must…fight…urge…to…edit.

3. Writing mostly at night after the boy is in bed often means posting word counts on the NaNoWriMo website after midnight, thus skewing my numbers to look like I’m not keeping up. But I am! I swear!

4. I’m jealous of people who have the time to blow by the daily word count goal. I was happy with 6,591 on day four until I saw someone post on Facebook about passing 17,000 on day four.

5. Enjoying the sensation of having my story on my mind in kind of a low grade constant way just like I did in late 2011. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo for A Beautiful Fiction, but I did write nearly every day. That kind of story immersion is like a creative snowball rolling around in your head, picking up material all over the place, getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Feels great, if slightly imbalanced.

6. When words won’t come, procrastinate with art. The other night I had to get myself back into the fledgling story when I didn’t know where it should go next. So I mocked up a cover for it to stall and to give myself an image to write to.


That’s enough for now. There are more lessons to be had later in this month. But I did want to give you an update on my writing. It’s a different animal than my last work, but different is good. It feels fresh and challenging and I think I will be pleased with it once I’ve had the chance to revise and edit, oh, let’s say…fifty times.