NaNoWriMo

So many of you may have heard about NaNoWriMo, and many of you may have even taken part.

How did it go for you? I had a whale of a time.

Now for those of you that aren’t familiar, the rules are as follows:

  • Start a novel
  • Write 50,000 words by the end of November
  • (That averages 1,666 words a day)

Now as you may have read my apprehensive post at the beginning of November, I wasn’t very well equipped to take on the challenge. Of the 30 days in November, I was away visiting family and on a weekend trip to London which robbed me of 7 days.

That left me with 23 days to write 50,000 words (averaging 2,173 words a day).

Now to make things even more difficult…I work a full time job…I run this delightful blog…let’s not forget the official social media that goes with it: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram…and of course I needed to make time for Skype Sessions with my Mum, my unnatural obsession with Eastenders and Coronation Street as well as time with the Lover, did I also forget to mention that I was part of the Hampshire Writers’ Society committee and currently building a website, partaking in a stress control workshop that lasted six weeks and the writing critiquing group I attend once a month.

How on earth was I going to manage 2,173 words a day?! I barely had enough time to eat, sleep and have five minutes to myself, let alone anything else.

It went a little something like this:

NaNoWriMo Calendar

So fairly sporadic, but considering my other commitments I’d say that was fairly good going.

For those of you that are not necessarily of a numerical mind, here’s my NaNoWriMo progress sheet on their website. It fluctuates quite a lot and there are definite gaps where I was away. If I could have maintained the same pace as the first week or so, I would have finished around about the 27th, I think.

NaNoWriMo Progress

So the number one questions is: Was it Worth it?

Well, it’s a hard question to answer. I personally found it quite easy, but then again I don’t have a problem with churning out 3,000+ in a two hour period, but for those that are more finicky with their words probably did find this sprinting not only unusual but helpful in spurring them on.

I did enjoy it. I love a challenge. Who doesn’t? I attempted the Berlin Marathon in 2013 just because I wanted to, not because I was any good at running – but that’s a story for a different day. So in terms of motivating me, it was great. I started with the mind-set that I probably wasn’t going to finish. Through no fault of my own though – I’m not a negative thinker – I just wasn’t sure there were enough hours in the day.

So I relished the challenge. And when I found myself churning out an astronomical amount on a daily basis, I knew it was going to be an easy journey. Now I will hold my hands up and say I didn’t quite stick to the rules…

I already had a novel that I was working on. A novel that I was about 45,000 words into and was desperate to finish – I have a writer’s festival to go to in June and I need a finished (and edited) draft. So I started with that and added the NaNoWriMo count on top. Now I reached the end of the book yet there were still a couple of thousand words left to go, which left me in a tight spot. So I took a leaf out of Della Galton’s book and instead of writing short stories, I decided to write some blog posts. I’d say that was productive, almost fictional and more importantly kept me writing til the very end.

Back to the question: Was it worth it?

My answer: Yes.

I started the month with half a novel, and ended the month with a complete draft – plus a couple of blog posts, so I’d say that was productive.

My other question is: Did it actually help me?

My answer: Again, yes.

I’m no stranger to writing, I’ve been blogging for years, I’ve finished 2 (now 3) novels and a novella, written countless short stories and a number of articles. I know I’m capable, that didn’t even enter the equation, but what it did make me realise that even though I lead a busy life, there is clearly enough time for me to still write enough to keep the writer in me happy and still have time to do nice things at the weekend, spend time with the Lover, Skype my Mum etc etc. I will however admit that the blog had been scheduled a month in advance and all my freelance work had been put on hold but I think with a little forward thinking, I could probably do NaNoWriMo almost every other month – imagine how many books that would be!

Did you take part in NaNo this year? Did you decide against it for some reason? How did you find the experience? I’d love to know your thoughts!

    4 Comments

  1. kimberlywenzler 7th December 2015 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Hi Natasha,

    Wow!! That’s so impressive. I am especially impressed that you managed to meet your goals with all of your other commitments . I’ve never tried NaNoWrMo- but I might try it next year. Until then, I’ll chip away at my modest pace. Great post! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Natasha Orme 7th December 2015 at 1:05 pm Reply

      Hi Kimberly,

      I’m impressed too, it was definitely not what I was expecting! This was my first time and I’ve always been sceptical in the past but I think if you’re realistic about your aims and expectations, anyone can do it. It was a really good chance for me to just dedicate myself to my novel which has been in progress since I left University and also helped me relive the Uni days where I did a lot more writing than I do now…

      Keep at it! And please do share your experiences with me 🙂 I’d love to know what you write, how long you’ve been doing it for and where your inspiration comes from 🙂

      Thanks

  2. kimberlywenzler 7th December 2015 at 3:34 pm Reply

    Hi,
    I have two books out myself (Women’s fiction – both self-pubbed) and they’re doing pretty well. I’m working on book #3 which will hopefully be out mid to late 2016. So, I’m averaging one book/yr. I know we’re supposed to get them out faster, but I can’t seem to quicken my pace. My inspiration comes from reading great books and blog posts. I’ve been writing all of my life and just decided to go for it. I look forward to your new book, whenever it’s available. Good luck! 🙂

    • Natasha Orme 8th December 2015 at 8:17 am Reply

      You might be surprised if I told you that Pam Jenoff (critically acclaimed, best-selling author) writes much slower than that because she works as a lecturer. We all write at different paces. JAmes Patterson produces 3-5 books a year but he no longer writes them himself, he simply plans them and has a co-author do the hard work. So I’d say producing one a year – and being able to edit – is pretty good going 🙂 Thanks!

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