Novel Experiment · writing

Writing Week in Review: 10/22-10/28


As I’ve continued editing my Novel Experiment, I’ve thought a lot about time: how much I have of it, the way I spend it, and how much I can give to new writing projects.

Brandon Rucker of the eponymous website recently asked me if I would be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. I responded by bursting into terrified laughter.

While I have never been part of NaNoWriMo before, I have always found the lure of it enticing. Writing 50,000 words in a month and walking away with a mostly finished manuscript sounds hugely rewarding. It would also devour my life.

When I am in the thick of drafting a novel, I have a conservative goal of writing 5,000 new words per week. That only works out to a little more than 20,000 words per month. I keep the goal low for a couple of reasons: I work full time, and I run this blog. As many of you know, blogging can take a lot of time. It involves coming up with ideas, drafting and editing posts, and interacting with the broader community.

And I love it, but it does take time from other projects.

So I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo this year even though a part of me would like to. Though I might be able to make 50,000 words fit into my monthly schedule, I suspect that my burnout rate would be very high. I suppose I’m fated to be a tortoise chipping away at my works instead.

Having said all of that, I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing how everyone else progresses with NaNoWriMo. I know that Brandon plans to participate and will hopefully be keeping us updated on how that goes – if you haven’t already, you should check out his website. There is some great stuff there – and I’m sure others of you will be furiously writing in November as well.

If you have experience with NaNoWriMo, I’d love to hear about it. It is fascinating to know how other people survive the month.


22 thoughts on “Writing Week in Review: 10/22-10/28

  1. I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice. It averages 1,667 words a day and isn’t too bad. I work a full time job too but some days it is a stretch. I try to catch up more on the weekends when I have free time. It is rewarding, but I can understand how it isn’t for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think NaNoWriMo is more of a motivational factor anyway. I’d say I average about 20K a month in terms of writing, and it works. In my opinion, the spirit of the month is just about committing to a goal and teaching it. For me, I want to finish drafting Sojourn in Despair. That short story is due in December, and I want to see how this anthology does. So just write, let the spirit of the month keep the words flowing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a lovely way of thinking about it. One of the things I appreciate about NaNoWriMo is the way that it builds a community of people all focused on writing.

      And best of luck finishing “Sojourn in Despair’! That will be a great winter present to yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “As I’ve continued editing my Novel Experiment, I’ve thought a lot about time: how much I have of it, the way I spend it, and how much I can give to new writing projects.”

    Time touches all, including my poetry. A teacher, a professor, and husband, and a father, I write when I can. Poetry has become my chosen venue of creativity because I can complete a poem in a relatively short amount of time. Fiction? That’s a more difficult beast to tame and, generally, I don’t have the time to sit down and craft a story (though I am trying).


  4. Every year I hear the call for NaNoWriMo and then I think about all the things I’m already not doing because juggling time is so difficult. Frankly, if I signed up for it, my anxiety would skyrocket because I’d be immediately overwhelmed by the pressure of it all, and I’d get literally nothing done. But, I think it is a wonderful thing that probably helps a lot of writers in a multitude of ways, and for them, I glad it’s there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you Kristen. I have the utmost admiration for anyone who attempts Nanowrimo but I’d be setting myself up for failure it I attempted it. My monthly word count is even less than yours at 16k. The only way I could give it a go is if I took the month off to participate (which I may well do in 2018). Best of luck to everyone undertaking it this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tell myself that steady progress is better than no progress, which is what would happen if I burned out trying to write 50,000 words in too short of a time.

      If you do take the time off to write (at the retreat in France?), I hope you’ll let us know how it goes! For the people who can make NaNoWriMo work for them, it does sound like a great system.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I tried it last year and was a huge failure. Before the start of the month I was hitting my writing goals with no issues. The pressure I put on myself with the increased goals made me hit a wall and I didn’t produce for a long time after that. Finally starting to hit my stride now and I’m not going to jinx it. I shoot for 2000 words a week right now (just on my main project) and am close to finishing the first draft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the end, I think that as long as we have goals and are hitting them, that is all that matters. I’m not capable of doing 50,000 words a month at the moment, so trying would be setting myself up for failure.

      And congratulations on nearing the end of your first draft for your main project! That is always exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a couple of times now. I don’t honestly find it to be difficult to reach 50,000 words in a month. However, I have been told I write fast. I have been able to sit down and write 12K in a day if I have the day off. So, I don’t see NaNo as a challenge so much anymore and I, personally, see it as a stepping stone for new writers who have never finished a novel or never sat down and really worked on one. Because, as you’ve said, it doesn’t finish a whole novel, but it gets one started. The hardest part of NaNo is keeping at the book after November is over. :/ I suppose it all depends on what your hardest part of writing is: the first draft, or the editing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, but I think NaNo needs to have something to continue them on into December because 50K isn’t a full novel. So they reach the 50K, burn out, and then never actually finish it, much less come back for edits. :/ I think it’s a good idea, but I think it could use a support month or some revisement of some type.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. NaNoWriMo is a bit of a stretch for most people with multiple things on their plate. Keep up with how you’ve been doing and you’ll have your novel sorted in no time, and probably with less revisions than those participating and rushing through NaNoWriMo.

    Liked by 1 person

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