Writer Life & Lessons

NaNoWriMo: How I’ve Tailored the Challenge

nano13November 1st, 2009.
I sat down at my laptop at University and began typing the introductory words of my first ever novel.

National Novel Writing Month has been part of my year ever since, and I like to think I’ve learnt a lot about my writing process throughout this.


What Works For Me

– having a daily aim

– having a deadline to finish by

– the forums

– the buddy systems

– being able to (the excuse to) talk about my novel


What Didn’t Work So Well

– the thirty days in-a-row

– the fact it’s in November ~ a dark, dingy month


How I Complete NaNoWriMo

In 2009 and 2011, I decided on November 1st that I would attempt it – with no planning or solid ideas.

In 2010, I at least had an idea, but I was being a “rebel” ~ effectively writing a sequel to the 2009 attempt. However, in 2010, I completed the month’s writing in the summer. I think I begun in July. Any day I wrote, that became the next “writing” day of the 30.

In 2012, I had just finished a degree and was unemployed in my parents house. This allowed me to complete the 30 days in November. Again, I was writing a sequel, and I had it pretty much plotted out. I took days off where I needed to, because I actually had 12 hours a day to write in.

And that 2012 attempt is the first I feel I didn’t have to “cheat” to win. I hit 80,000 words in 27 consecutive days.


So this year, I’m mixing all the things I’ve learnt about my writing self.  Partly for the above reasons, and partly because I’ll be attending the World Fantasy Convention for the first three days of November – which would set me back, and because I have a full-time job.


Thus, it has begun.

I started on October 7th. That became Day 1.

Then any day I write even one word of Kindling, that becomes Day 2, and then 3. And so on.

As of today, the 13th October, I’m on day 4. I’ll be taking part in short sprints, and documenting my progress here as my own little ‘NoWriMo’ unfolds.

How Do You Prefer to Write?

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