NaNo’s in Full Swing


Recognize this? If you’re participating this year, you do. NaNoWriMo–the most anticipated writing event of the year.

I’m not doing it.

I’ve tried before. Really, I have. Give the Lady a Ride began as a NaNo project. I loved the story so much, I got carried away with the research and totally forgot to write it until long after NaNo passed. I’ve forgotten what I was working on, but I tried again the following year. But I have this nasty habit of editing what I wrote the day before, and when I discovered it was all trash, I got discouraged and quit.

NaNo’s success over the years is evidenced in the ever-increasing number of participants. People who actually do give themselves permission to write rubbish in the first draft. This is what we as writers are supposed to do–allow ourselves to get that first draft written without editing, without concern that the bulk of it will need to be ripped out anyway. I just can’t do it. Maybe if I were more of an outliner, I could. Maybe if I planned better, I could. That’s the secret to making daily word-count goals work, outlines and plans. And although I’m getting better about it and am sketching chapters out more often, I’m not there yet.

I’ve reached a certain peace about not joining in all the fun. I’ve learned to embrace the way I write, even if it seems incomprehensible to others.

I begin each session by editing what I wrote the day before. Yes, I know we’re supposed to turn off our internal editors, but I do it anyway, sometimes going all the way back to the beginning of the novel and editing from the start–which is why my opening chapters are usually so polished. Then I stare out the window and try to figure out what happens next, unless inspiration hit while I was in the shower or doing the dishes, then I know what happens next and it’s just a matter of getting it down. After I get it written–if I do–I go back and see how well it flows with what I wrote before and edit. Hit save, hit back-up, shut it down until the next session, when I do it all over again.

Maybe I could do the same with NaNo, but the thing is, sometimes I only write around 300 words. Sometimes more, but sometimes even less. I’d never succeed, and not just because I can’t make a daily word count. The last week in November belongs to MSB, which gives me only three weeks when everyone else has four.

So, to you who are actively participating and feel certain you’ll make your daily goals, God bless you. I’m rooting for you. As for me, I’ll just plug along the way I do it and maybe get halfway done by the end of the month, while y’all whiz by to completed first draft. Have fun. Good luck.


About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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6 Responses to NaNo’s in Full Swing

  1. Gay Ingram says:

    I never considered NANO because of my writing style either…until last year. I had a project I was stuck on and decided to take the challenge and change the way I wrote just to see if it would move me forward.
    It was challenging to make myself write that many words each day but I did and I met the challenge one day before the end of the month. The story is now in edits and I’m constantly surprised by my results.
    Like you, the most difficult part was to not go back and read over what I’d written previously. But…I suspect that will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


  2. K.M. Weiland says:

    I’ve learned the hard way not to edit as I go, but for me that mostly means not obsessing over paragraphs *as* I write them. I always read over what I wrote the day before, both to tweak it into shape and help get my brain back into the same flow.


    • That’s more of what I do–tweak it a bit. Still, over time, frequent tweaking leads to polish. Also, since I’m primarily a pantser, sometimes I have to rewrite parts to get whatever is new to fit in smoothly. All part of the process for me.


  3. This is my first year doing Nano and I’m frEakiNg out!! I’m making my word count and I’ve locked my inner editor away with shackles but I forgot the blindfold and as I’m writing I can already see how much work it’s going to be come the end of November when both myself and my inner editor will need medication to stop the editing tremors 😉 I would say your style of writing most resembles my natural style too and I’m struggling…it’s only day four!! (sigh) Someone did encourage me by telling me that a NYT best selling author’s series did start in nano…at least the 10% she salvaged. 🙂


    • Ha! You make me laugh, Natalie! I remember shackling my inner editor, but the stinker had a key. I wish you all sorts of luck and success. If your novel comes out anywhere near as good as the comment you wrote, you’ll be in good shape!


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