NaNoWriMo wrapup

When I won NaNoWriMo in 2006, I was thrilled. I was so proud of what I had done, of having seen through the stupendous effort involved. I wanted to tell everyone, to celebrate and show the world what I'd done.

How do I feel this time? As of this moment, I feel depressed, actually. Yes, I wrote 50,000 words in a month. That's a lot of words.

I thought the idea was good, the characters were interesting, and the plot that developed along the way was OK. However, forcing it all out in a month meant that I abandoned a lot of the sub-plot complexities that I had in the outline. Most of what I wrote is meandering, turgid crap that will be deleted in toto. Is this an accomplishment, or just a bunch of wasted time and effort?

Without NaNo, I don't think I ever would have written this. I never would have forced myself to adhere to a deadline-based work schedule to turn out the text. However, it's pretty clear that what I wrote wasn't worth writing. I can't bear the thought of rereading any of it, let alone contemplating how it could be revised into something at all worth the effort of giving to anyone else.

I'd like to think that this is all just a result of fatigue, and of life's externalities intruding on my writerly ambitions. I'd like to think that my abilities as a writer are fictive rather than fictitious, but it's hard to see that right now. If anything, the NaNoWriMo experience has made me question if I have any real hope of ever being a novelist.

Sad, but there it is. I'm not used to being completely honest in my blog posts, but I don't have it in me at the moment to be smiling and happy about my NaNoWriMo win. In a way, I suppose I'm even farther off the end of the NaNoWriMo-blah scale than Jason Meyers.


  1. As I tweeted a few days before Nov started, being a cool dude (hethinks) I always poohpoohed nanowrimo, like for 6 or 7 years, but I had a break in my schedule (the sculptural workshop I used was closing down and the #purefold project I'm interested in is some months away still). So I just decided to do it. Had vague idea it should be about bird watchers and on the first day wrote nearly 7K. After that it was fun. If I got bored I just started another chapter, another scene knowing that 50K is not a novel and it would come out (extended) in the wash, when I could see it more clearly.
    I did no research, done absolutely no planning. (I'll pay for this later though). Until I hit the 15K I had no idea even what genre it was. I had so many people and their subplotty lives that when I now have to cull one or two it causes all sorts of problems, it's taken a week to edit the first 10K which I wrote in 2 days.

    I think I did a pure #nanowrimo

    Mind you I've always enjoyed the writing when I least try, least expect anything.

    Hope I don't sound like a convert. It just happened to be the write thing at the right time.

    I'm going to use this work as a base for a ebook serialization, hopefully Part 1 (the first 15K ?) will be out before Christmas.

    Best of all I dropped a H-Bomb on my old hometown.

  2. Best of all I dropped a H-Bomb on my old hometown.

    Nice. I'd focus it on my old high school, but same thought.

    Nanowrimo was an absolute slog for me. Only the seductions, sex, fight scenes and murders were any fun to write. Everything else just felt like I was troweling in on, just to get the word count.

  3. Nano is great excuse to push ourselves. However, you bring up a good point about the fatigue et al.

    Perception in-process is entirely different than after the fact. In my musician days, I often walked off stage thinking our performance stunk. Time after time, the soundboard recording proved me wrong. I think we're too aware & sensitive while creating. Tuck your story away, enjoy the holidays, and see what it looks like in January.

  4. Congrats! And enough with the doubt. That's just nano hangover. Some of it will get scrapped, some will be so heavily edited that it may as well have been scrapped, but it doesn't matter. It is a prototype. You're seeing what works with what, what links you need to build, which ones need to leave, and if your path from point A to point B is actually valid.

    I thought similar things about my previous NaNo, the one I couldn't bear to read because it was so much crap? Well I re-read it. And it turns out I wrote much better than I thought I had. You'll find that, too.

    My own NaNoWriMo efforts this year failed. I'll be posting that to my blog alter, but basically too much overtime and family stuff. But I have a skeleton on which I can build, and characters who are far more interesting than I initially thought.

    Perhaps this is what is meant by the phrase, "Flesh out?"


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