What is NaNoWriMo, and my Results so far

November 23, 2014 — 85 Comments
Nano Rhino by mpclemens at flickr.com

My rough drafts have slightly better spelling.

What the heck is NaNoWriMo?

I saw that wierd word on a bumper sticker glued to the back of a laptop in a coffee shop a few months back.

It feels embarrassing that as a writer I didn’t know what it was until then.

What is it then?

It’s an acronym that writers added extra letters to, so it became easy to say.

National Novel Writing Month

Apparently lots of authors I have trouble starting a project without a deadline. So worldwide, many authors decide one or two things are going to take place in the month of November:

1. They will complete an entire rough draft of a novel they’ve been thinking about writing but haven’t started. AND/OR…

2. Write 50,000 words towards that project before the month ends.

It’s like No-Shave November, but people have to actually do something.

What’s Been Going on at Author David’s Bulletproof Lab:

This is my first NaNoWriMo, and I’m not doing it because it’s November, I’m doing it to get into the habit of knocking out first drafts in a short time, no matter what.

And the Results?

I have a series idea, and plotted it out so that I could start writing by November. That meant september was a month of research and plot outlining.

With a goal of a finished 60,000 word rough draft by months end I set to work.

Stats:

Week 3 results: 42,639 words written.
Chapters Completed: 23/36

Since one of my weeks was 18,600 words, I am sure I could hit 60,000 if I had to. The truth is, it’s looking like this book might be a bit longer than 60,000 words though. I still have 36% more book to write. Based on an average chapter length of about 1800 words, it looks like I’ll need to write 24,100 words or so to hit my completed rough draft goal. Seeing as I’m developing a habit of working on marketing as well as writing, along with two jobs, it may not be realistic to push for 24,000+ words in a week.

But if I’m anything, it’s unreasonable.

Implications

Since this upcoming book is a series, I may still have to write new characters, plots, and scenes. However, the fact that the character has a history, motivation, and supporting characters, along with a few repeating environments, the pre-book planning process might be a little shorter (4-5 weeks rather than 6-8).

I like to take a break between first draft and revision, so this gives me two weeks to spend a bit more time on marketing and develop some plots for future releases.

The hard part for me is revising. It can be fun when once I start, but I tend to dread it until work really begins. The revising process, and everything leading up to releasing a book, also comes with having to work with other people’s deadlines (editors, beta readers, proofreaders, book cover designers, etc). While I’ve gone through the gauntlet a few times, I’m still looking for an editor that will work within my budget without reducing quality. Someone I can go to over and over. As book sales increase, I’ll probably sink more into having great editors than anything else. To sum up, I can crank out some relatively fast rough drafts in spite of nearly anything, it’s the stuff afterward that needs the most improvement in order to write lots of books and get them out in a decent amount of time. While I still dream of 4 books a year, that dream may not become a reality until the middle or end of next year, with one book – from concept to completion – in a 3 month period being the metric that really shows I’ve got it down.

85 responses to What is NaNoWriMo, and my Results so far

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