Posted by on Nov 30, 2015 in On Writing: Craft and Commiseration, WoC, Word Count Updates and Writing Goals | 0 comments


I signed up for NaNoWriMo and LOST… and I mean big time didn’t write a single word BLEW IT for four years straight. I came in with such good intentions and then completely failed to show up and get down to writing. When I won for the first time in 2007 (and I have no idea what my word count was exactly because I didn’t keep records back then other than it was around 65,000) it was the most I had ever written in a single project ever, let alone in a month. 

2015 marks my 8th NaNoWriMo victory and while there are still some hours to go before the month is out so I’m not quite done writing yet, I’m set to pass 115,000 words for the month. (See my NaNoWriMo profile if you want the exact up to the minute total.) I wrote two books this month: the first draft of WOC1, my middle grade adaptation of Polar Twilight, and a book about what to do Post-NaNoWriMo. And, frankly, I’m at a loss for words and not just because I used them all up.

In 2013, right after my daughter was born, I struggled to write 150,000 words in an entire year so the fact that I wrote this much in a single month, a month when I was serving as ML AND had a lot going on, is insane to me especially because… it wasn’t really even that hard. I loved the book I was writing so much that the first half of the month just flew by (I hit 50,000 words on November 12th and finished the book two days after that) and then, even though the second book was much more of a slog, just doing the writing events I had to show up to for my role as a NaNoWriMo ML, got me to where I am now.

Almost every word of that massive word stack was written either during my daughter’s naps or at a NaNo write-in online or off. That’s two or three hours a day or so? When I did that 2007 victory, I had almost all day to write and I somehow doubled that count in a fraction of the time this year. I don’t even really understand it. Honestly, this last weekend is the first time I’ve really felt like it got hard and that was mostly because the book I was writing was annoying and I would have quit if it hadn’t been for the new badge they introduced this year that you can get for writing every single day of the month.

Was it because I had a great book idea this year and the passion drove me? Was it because I did more prep work ahead of time than ever before? Was it that stupid badge for writing every day which truly did force me to write several days when I was ahead and would have otherwise taken the night off? Or is this a reflection of all the work I’ve done up to this point that the writing is coming faster and easier for me?

Right now, I’m thinking this was a super random fluke and may never happen again. I’m certainly not going to shoot to beat this count next year. My aim at the start of every NaNoWriMo is just to finish the book I’m working on and, if that happens early, to do whatever other random projects are lying around and that’ll be the same goal next year. But it is interesting to realize that, after last year’s record count and this word heavy writing year in general, that I am capable of writing this much in a single month without breaking too much of a sweat.

Now I’m wondering how much more I could get done if I had more than a few hours a day to work. Would I get double that done? Or less because I’d fritter the day away like I used to?

But the biggest takeaway from this month is that NaNoWriMo is still driving me and somehow still so vital to my writing life so many years after I used it to write that very first novel draft and, for that, I am eternally grateful!


Update at 11:07 PM

And that’s an official wrap for NaNoWriMo 2015 for me! I finished up the month at 117,716 words. Look at that graph, baby!

NaNoWriMo 2015

And as this is also the end of my writing year, let’s take a quick look at where I ended up with my goal there:

[wppb progress=”673068/500000″]
673,068 written out of my 500,000 word goal, so 135%

Yeah… that just happened. But we’ll talk about it another time because I think I have absolutely earned taking the rest of the night off… 🙂

Until next NaNoWriMo, so long and thanks for all the words!

(The rest of you, Report back here tomorrow. We’ll be writing. Like always.)