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Reading: Non-NaNoWriMo 2011

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment
NaNoWriMo Logo

Click the image to be taken to the NaNoWriMo site.

National Novel Writing Month is a worldwide project where people aim to write 50,000 words of a novel in November. In 2009 I didn’t officially participate but did piggyback on the goals of NaNoWriMo in an attempt to complete a novel I’d be working on in fits and starts for years, and succeeded. I had a lot of fun too and would have done it again in 2010, but at that point I’d just started work at a new job and couldn’t justify (or even had) the time to participate.

In 2011 I had plenty of holiday through the month and was much better adjusted to the unusual hours, so figured I’d give it another try, starting a new novel (though again not officially being part of NaNoWriMo, for some reason). It was another success but not by the amount I’d expected it to be.

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Non-NaNoWriMo – Complete!

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment
NaNoWriMo Logo

Website quote: "We'll have a complete stats breakdown on the blog in the next few days, but I just checked in on the winner's totals (32,000 winners as of 11:30 PM Pacific) and saw that we've hit a 19% win rate for the first time in modern NaNoWriMo history. We're also ahead of last year on collective word count, total sign-ups, donor percentage, number of brown-haired Scorpios with green eyes writing fan fiction, and pretty much everything else that matters."

With the end of November comes the end of National Novel Writing month, where budding authors worldwide try to write a 50,000 word short story during the month, the aim being to get the rough ideas out there rather than craft something perfect.  During that time I set out to either write a further 50,000 words of the novel I’ve slowly been working on for years, or maybe even finish it.

As it happens, I ended up doing both.  You can see the whole month’s progress here, broken down by day, but the short version is that in November I wrote 55,462 words, finishing with an overall average of 1,848 words per day.  I hit the halfway point of 25,00 words on the 14th, one day early (the 25,000th word was “said”), and the final point on the 26th, four days early (word 50,000 was “watching”).  I then completed the final chapter of the novel on the 29th.

From keeping an eye on other people, it’s clear that not everybody approached NaNoWriMo in the same way.  Some people wrote as much as they could every day, hitting the target in the first couple of weeks, while others were like me, trying to hit the required average each time and not going much further.  My approach worked well for me, because it meant I was spending time on it each day without having the entire day consumed by writing, and still found time for TV, little bits of gaming and browsing the web (although I am still behind on all those things now).

I found the whole thing to be lots of fun and I’m really glad to have written a story from start to finish after years of procrastinating.  There’s lots more to be done to it now – editing, additional chapters, rewriting of earlier chapters to incorporate ideas that came to me later – but it feels really good to have the very rough first draft completed, and I’ll definitely consider doing the same thing next November.

Congratulations to everybody who took part, whether you hit the goal or not.

Reading: Non-NaNoWriMo 2009

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

This post originally existed as a permanent page just beneath the blog header, but a rearrangement of the pages in 2012 meant I needed somewhere new for it, hence this post.

NaNoWriMo Logo

Click the image to be taken to the NaNoWriMo site.

This page will collect my efforts to either finish the novel I’ve been working on for years, or at least write a further 50,000 words in the month of November.  The goal is similar to that of National Novel Writing Month, which also takes place in November, and is what spurred me to do it.  You can read more details here.

This page is going to be where I record how many words I write each day.  Before I started I was at 79,681 words.  To write 50,000 words in the thirty days of November requires an average of 1,666 words per day.  Here’s how it went:

  • November 1st –  1,310 words (1,310 per day) – 1,310/50,000 (80,991 total).
  • November 2nd – 2,159 words (1,734 per day) – 3,469/50,000 (83,150 total).
  • November 3rd – 749 words (1,406 per day) – 4,218/50,000 (83,899 total).
  • November 4th – 1,494 words (1,428 per day) – 5,712/50,000 (85,393 total).
  • November 5th – 1,772 words (1,497 per day) – 7,484/50,000 (87,165 total).
  • November 6th – 1,587 words (1,512 per day) – 9,071/50,000 (88,752 total).
  • November 7th – 1,940 words (1,573 per day) – 11,011/50,000 (90,692 total).
  • November 8th – 2,621 words (1,704 per day) – 13,632/50,000 (93,313 total).
  • November 9th – 1,744 words (1,708 per day) – 15,376/50,000 (95,057 total).
  • November 10th – 3,091 words (1,847 per day) – 18,467/50,000 (98,148 total).
  • November 11th – 1,396 words (1,806 per day) – 19,863/50,000 (99,544 total).
  • November 12th – 1,693 words (1,796 per day) – 21,556/50,000 (101,237 total).
  • November 13th – 1,861 words (1,801 per day) – 23,417/50,000 (103,098 total).
  • November 14th – 2,324 words (1,839 per day) – 25,741/50,000 (105,422 total) – Halfway point passed.  Word 25,000: “said”
  • November 15th – 2,856 words (1,906 per day) – 28,597/50,000 (108,278 total)
  • November 16th – 1,929 words (1,907 per day) – 30,516/50,000 (110,197 total)
  • November 17th – 1,044 words (1,856 per day) – 31,560/50,000 (111,241 total)
  • November 18th – 1,671 words (1,846 per day) – 33,231/50,000 (112912 total)
  • November 19th – 2,064 words (1,858 per day) – 35,295/50,000 (114,976 total)
  • November 20th – 1,257 words (1,828 per day) – 36,552/50,000 (116,233 total)
  • November 21st – 1,805 words (1,826 per day) – 38,357/50,000 (118,038 total)
  • November 22nd – 2,467 words (1,855 per day) – 40,824/50,000 (120,505 total)
  • November 23rd – 1,942 words (1,859 per day) – 42,765/50,000 (122,446 total)
  • November 24th – 2,292 words (1,877 per day) – 45,057/50,000 (124,738 total)
  • November 25th – 2,052 words (1,884 per day) – 47,109/50,000 (126,790 total)
  • November 26th – 2,922 words (1,924 per day) – 50,031/50,000 (129,712 total) – End point passed.  Word 50,000: “watching”
  • November 27th – 1,770 words (1,919 per day) – 51,801/50,000 (131,482 total)
  • November 28th – 1,380 words (1,899 per day) – 53,181/50,000 (132,862 total)
  • November 29th – 2,281 words (1,912 per day) – 55,462/50,000 (135,143 total) – Novel complete!
  • November 30th – 0 words (1,848 per day) – 55,462/50,000 (135,143 total)

Current number of words remaining: 0/50,000 (target met!)

said

Non-NaNoWriMo – Halfway Point

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment
NaNoWriMo Logo

Website quote: "We've already written over a billion words collectively (last year, we ended the month at 1.6 billion), and I'm starting to wonder if two billion words might be in the cards for this year. Holy cow."

A quick recap:  National Novel Writing Month is an effort to get all those would-be authors out there to sit down in the month of November and brute force their way through a 50,000 word novel, prioritising getting the basic story done over crafting something perfect first time.  While not directly taking part, I have decided to try to either finish the novel I’ve been working on for years, or at least write an additional 50,000 words of it in November.  For a bit more detail, you can read my previous post here.

With there being thirty days in November, the 15th serves as the halfway point, by which those participating should ideally be hovering at least around 25,000 words.  As you can see from the dedicated page I put up, I hit that on the 14th, one day ahead of schedule.  The 25,000th word was “said”, which isn’t exactly the most interesting word it could have been, but it is what it is.

Hitting the 50,000 word target requires an average of 1,666 words per day.  It took me a long time to reach that, but at one point I started having a lot of really good days where I was thoroughly enjoying myself and the words were just pouring into the document.  I put it into chart form:

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Non-NaNoWriMo

November 7, 2009 4 comments
NaNoWriMo Logo

Website fact: "In 2008, we had over 120,000 participants. More than 20,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists."

National Novel Writing Month’s goals are pretty simple.  Quoting their about page:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

I’m not actually participating or anything like that but I do enjoy writing (which can probably be guessed from the fact I keep a blog), and like most people with a PC and word processing software I have tried my hand at a novel, contributing to it off an on for at least six years, perhaps longer.  Sometimes months (or even a year or more) can pass without me touching it, then I’ll get back into it for a while before interest fades again or I get distracted by another project or a game or something.  Leaving it for so long has the added downside that by the time I get back into it I’ve had new ideas, often requiring major changes, to the point that I’m re-writing huge chunks over and over again.

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