Thursday, 7 November 2013

To NaNo or Not to NaNo - That is the Question

NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) is now in its 14th year.  I have dreamt of taking part for the past 4 years but as each November drew closer, I allowed that minx of an inner demon to tell me I couldn't possible do that - 'pah, who are you kidding, write 50,000 words, not a chance!'
Me at my NaNo Desk

So on the 1st November this year, I looked that evil minx straight in the eye and said...'back off sister, you can't achieve if you never take part.'

Once I had signed up and began writing, I very quickly came to the conclusion that I was either uber organised or had absolutely no life whatsoever - I am leaning toward the latter!

Having never taken part in anything so challenging, I used my time wisely and over the summer months I planned, I plotted, I built character profiles and I even drew little maps of what my 'other' worlds would look like - yes, I am that neurotic.  Of course this all paid off and I made a flying start.

By day 6, I had logged 36,523 words on my NaNo page (take a look at my profile

However, as I sat grinning from ear to ear, thinking I was doing really well, I found another NaNoer who had logged 100,001, another who reached 51,036 by day 3 and even my Regional Municipal Liaison for Birmingham's NaNo Writer's Group smashed the 50k mark yesterday.  These guys are the Yoda of the NaNo challenge and I salute them.

I have learnt a valuable lesson from these amazing chaps, anything is possible if you just get on and do it.

So as a virgin NaNoer, what other lessons have I learnt from this crazy quest?

  • You are not alone!  There are 286,869 of us taking part this year.  Granted, I haven't managed to say hello to all of them, but I have made some wonderful new friends from all over the world. 
  • I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • I can enjoy writing to a deadline - in fact this has been a fantastic way to keep me focused, I even have writing time outlined in red pen in my diary.
  • It is possible to ask the question, 'if I stab someone in the heart with a magic sword will they die instantly?' and not get arrested.  I LOVE the forums!
Week 2 is notorious for abandoning this challenge, according to the gurus at NaNo HQ, but I have no intention of leaving my characters and running for the hills.

Let me know if you fancy reading an excerpt next week and I will post a bit on my blog for you - be warned, I'm writing a YA Fantasy Novel!

Are you taking part this year?  How are you getting on?



  1. I'm a first time NaNoer too! I haven't done anywhere near as many words as you - I'm just glad I'm still on track after a couple of 'bad' days this week :-)

    1. I think I may have approached NaNo with a slight obsession Hayley, fear of failure is a terrible burden but in this situation I used it to my benefit! Next year I will relax and enjoy myself a bit more! Oh my, did I just sign up for next year? Good luck to you :-)

  2. Shelley, I'm not Nano-ing but I was thrilled when I learned how much writing to a deadline worked, helped me, made a difference! For whatever reason, I always write hard in October and December, so Nano is always an off month for me. I just can't push that hard three months in a row!!! BUT… who knows… maybe next year:D
    CONGRATULATIONS on your great success and I'll look forward to your excerpt! Heidi

    1. Thanks Heidi, I have really enjoyed throwing myself into NaNo and its taught me quite a bit about myself too.
      I think you definitely deserve November off with all the work you have been doing! Good Luck with your Desert Rose Tour and the new 'Once Upon a Time Tomorrow' series :-)