NaNo My Way

NaNo My Way

I’m a reader and a writer. Or should that be a writer and a reader? My mom tells me I fell in love with books before I could read and that I used to sit outside and tell myself stories when I was 2, so it’s hard to know which one came first. But reading and writing so often go hand in hand. Every time I read a book, ten ideas manifest in my head. Someone help me…

I discovered National Novel Writing Month in 2007, when I was bored while studying abroad in Denmark because I did not relish wandering alone outside in the dark at 5pm. I needed something to keep me occupied when I’d finished all of my assigned readings. For the past 12 years, I’ve participated off and on. I’ve probably won and lost to equal degrees.

One thing I quickly realized was that my stories were much longer than 50,000 words, but, as soon as I hit that 50,000th word, I would completely run out of steam. After that, I refused to participate for a few years. Then I tried last year, but that was a disaster as my kids were toddlers and we were moving.

I’ve debated a good deal as to whether to try again this year. I thought maybe… Then my husband started a new, very demanding job and my son started Kindergarten and somehow I have about half as much time as I did before to even do my blogging. Well, it looked like this just wasn’t going to be a NaNo year for me.

And indeed it isn’t. I’m a little sad I can’t join the ranks of all the lovely writers I’ve found here in the blogging community. I feel twinges of jealousy whenever I see a NaNo post. I so wanted to participate, and win because it’s been quite a while since I have!

Then I realized I still can, just in a different way. I can still write my novel during November, but instead of feeling the limitations I felt whenever I participated in earnest, I can do it my way.

Instead of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, my goal is to just write every day for 30 days. I read somewhere it takes somewhere around 60 days to form a habit, so I’m hoping to extend my own personal version of NaNo to 60 days, or until the end of the year, and simply write. It can be two words or it can be 5000 words (Ha! Like that’s going to happen to me.). But the point is to just write. And since The Queen of the Garden of Girls is still an ongoing first draft that I’ve been posting here, it’ll ensure I will finish the story and post until the end.

So, NaNo my way. It makes me happy.

To everyone participating, all the best of luck!



29 thoughts on “NaNo My Way”

    • Thank you! I really hope I don’t run out of steam, but just seeing you posting your excerpts and writing 3000 words a day is great motivation. If you can be that ambitious and succeed, I can certainly write a couple of words a day!

      • Hell yea! I have a great activity I do for running out of steam/block. Its called space out writing. Start with a simple sentence: “I was walking my dog.” From there turn off your brain, don’t worry about grammar or syntax, just write whatever comes to mind. It could be anything. All this does is help flip the switch to write.

  • Although I am a registered participant, I am taking a similar approach. I do what I can each day, in the hope of developing better habits. I thought I might meet some people from my region. Not so much. I did have 5 strangers send me buddy requests, which I accepted. However, when I IM d them to wish them well in the competition, I received no responses. Lol. Best wishes, Kat!

    • That’s disappointing. I’ve never chosen to have any buddies or be anyone’s buddy, but I always heard how great it was. I suppose NaNo can be as much of a black hole as anything else and people just disappear or get wrapped up in their own things. Best of luck to you, too, though! Developing good writing habits just sounds so much better than writing 50,000 words.

  • I’ve never been a fan of NaNoWriMo, as I feel that it creates unnecessary conflict between writing and real life (seriously, why does it have to be the same month that the holiday season kicks off?), which ultimately sets up most people for failure. Not to mention, frenzied writing quickly leads to burnout.

    Personally, I think it’s better to be in the habit of writing (most) every day, and it doesn’t matter if it’s 20 words or 2000, because progress is progress.

    • I ask myself that question every year. It feels like it’s meant more for people who have always wanted to write a novel and not people who already consider themselves a writer, which is exactly why I’ve found myself choosing to not participate anymore. It really is too exhausting, and only breeds bad writing habits in me.

  • I quit social media and my website for the entire month to get writing done. But in your case, why not utilize Nano for you blog?

    • I’ve read a lot of writers have done the same as you. Fewer distractions. I did try writing and posting last year, but it didn’t quite work out. Instead, I’m continuing to write the story I’m sharing as I know some of my readers will be disappointed if I don’t finish it. That’s hopefully enough motivation for me.

  • Wonderful idea, Kat! And you never know…you may just surprise yourself and write an accidental 50,000 words. ☺️ xx

  • I’m participating but not putting pressure on myself to win anything. I find the site for it confusing so I’m just keeping track my own way. I’m already about 30,000 words into my novel but that is because I started in October. I thought I’d use this to just push myself to finish it since I’m a little stuck on the story right now. And If I can get it all done I can start rewrites in December. I’m sharing it in my blog because the feedback helps me with ideas sometimes or just makes me actually write it so I don’t disappoint my “fans.”
    Ha! All three or four people reading probably.

    • I haven’t actually taken a look at the new site, but have heard it’s confusing and a little slow. I like the idea of using NaNo for the push to just write. It seems to make writing more fun and there isn’t a ton of pressure to write a certain amount. I’m definitely one of the 3-4 fans, so I do hope you are able to finish it. I’m dying to know how Blanche’s life turns out, and Jackson just sounds so adorable!

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