Normal service resumed: NaNoWriMo musings and a new challenge



It is the first day in December.  After four weeks of glee and guilt in equal measure, NaNoWriMo is over.  I no longer have to worry about my word count, or how many days I have left, or how shockingly behind I am.

I haven’t “won” NaNo this year – I only managed to get to 30,000 words – so you might think that I would be dispirited and put off from writing anything else for at least six months.  Yet here I am typing this, dragging my laptop to and from work on the train, on 1st December.

The challenge of NaNo is to write at least 50,000 words.  What I realised about half way through the month, when I was still only a little behind in my word score, is that I didn’t want to write 1,667 words a day.  Maybe I can get to that incredibly productive place, in time, once I’ve had some practise and built myself up to it.  But I’ve never written on a daily basis before, I wasn’t producing good writing and I couldn’t keep up with the pace needed.  I’m also a terrible over-editor: I can’t send a text without reading it over twice and checking that it can’t be interpreted in the wrong way or that I haven’t left out an apostrophe.

So I selfishly started taking what I wanted from the NaNo experience and left out the bits I couldn’t or didn’t want to do.  Sorry all you purists out there.  I found that I could push myself without too much inconvenience to write about a thousand words a day.

I discovered that I could fit those thousand words in comfortably with a normal routine, and so this morning as I was about to leave the house, I glanced at my laptop sitting on the table.  I hesitated, then picked it up and took it with me.  There’s no real pressure now to grab a good seat on the train and write at least 500 words each way, but I’m still keen to find the time to write something, however short.  So I’m eternally grateful to NaNo for providing me with the opportunity to create a writing routine (of sorts).  Dare I say it, I may even give it another go next November and see how I get on (no promises, mind).

If you took part in NaNoWriMo last month, how did you do?  Did you win?  What did you get out of it either way?  I’d love to know your thoughts.

A New Challenge

I’ve still been reading during November (of course) but haven’t had the time to write up any reviews, so my first priority this month is to catch up with those and post them here.  Once I’ve done that, I’m intending to undertake a personal reading challenge to get rid of some of the unread books on my shelf.  The plan is to read 26 novels, each by a different author, in 6 months, reading A to Z.  That will work out at about one a week, depending on the exact dates I choose to start and finish.  I suppose it’s more of a focus than a challenge, but it will keep me busy and help clear the backlog.  Providing I don’t buy any more books for a while…

I’ve managed to collect books for almost every letter of the alphabet already, but I’m still missing Q, U, X and Y.  Do any of you have any suggestions for authors with surnames beginning with these letters?  I’m ideally looking for fiction writers, but I’m open to other ideas too.  Please leave a comment below with your suggestions.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 69point23degrees
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 20:45:07


    Glad you’ve found a space for writing more regularly in your daily life! I’m looking forward to reading a story…

    How about Richard Yates for your “Y”?

    Vince (of the North)


    • TheBrontëSister
      Dec 02, 2011 @ 07:32:07

      Hi Vince,

      Richard Yates is a great suggestion! I actually bought Revolutionary Road for someone’s birthday a couple of years ago… I might have to borrow that back. Thanks!

      I thought “Vince of the North” was a suggestion for “V” until I spotted your email address and twigged… Thanks for reading and hope all’s well for you both up there. Your blog looks great so I’m off to find out what you’ve been up to!


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