Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nanowrimo: I won, but only just

I became a Nanowrimo Municipal Liaison (local volunteer-type) in 2010 and I've won Nano ever year since. This year was the hardest yet.

To win Nanowrimo, you need to write an average of 1667 words per day. It's not like writing a shopping but it is a realistic and achievable target for a lot of writers.

But when you miss a few days, those 1667s start to add up super-fast.

I fell behind for a variety of reasons, some silly and some less so. I went away for a long weekend (Thursday to Sunday) and my flight was cancelled the day before we left (island living - yay!). So that had to be rearranged, time off work had to rearranged (I don't talk about my day job on the blog, deliberately, but I have to give my job a quick shout-out here for being as reasonable and accommodating as anyone could ask), and with one thing and another, I didn't write anything that day.

Then I was away for four days, and when I came back, I got some news that while it isn't actually bad, has the potential to maybe be bad at some point in the future, which distracted me quite badly for a few days.

With the result that I had over 30,000 words to write in less than a week.

My fellow participants were sympathetic. They said I wasn't allowed to have anything to eat at our celebratory lunch this week if I didn't make my target. I could read the menu (and we go to a really nice Japanese restaurant so this was a *mean* suggestion!) but I couldn't eat anything.

I would have liked to see them try to get between me and a California maki, even if they were armed with chopsticks.

Anyway, I managed to create time where previously none had existed.  I wrote on my lunch break instead of reading. I wrote whenever I had five minutes to spare. I wrote for an extra hour at night and slept less, and I cleared my schedule for a whole evening and wrote from I finished eating dinner until I went to bed.

And I finished. Last night at two minutes past six (just under six hours to the midnight deadline) I logged on to and validated my novel and won.

It was fun, it was exhilarating, it was challenging and I ended up with a book with large tracts of rubbish but an ending I really like.

And I hope to never put myself through that again!

Today I'm meeting the other participants and my co-ML for lunch. I can thank them for their lovely support on the forum - I got such nice comments when my word count started to climb. I can advise them to never fall behind like I did this year. I can commiserate with the people who didn't make it and congratulate everyone, whether they made it or not, for trying. We can share stories of awful plot holes and terrible instances of deus ex machina and cardboard characters and those rare, magical moments when something goes well instead of badly.

But most importantly, I can eat my noodles without having to defend my right to do so with chopsticks.

Happy December everyone!


  1. Congrats on finishing! I always marvel at this-- It takes me almost a year to write 50,000 words, and that is if I am REALLY focusing.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Donna, and congratulations on your release!

  3. Wow, good job getting it done! Enjoy your lunch, you earned it! :)

  4. A massive congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo! I hope you enjoyed your meal.

    I'm sorry you've also had a tough time of it this last month, and I hope the news you received does not end up being bad news. Keep strong and keep writing. If you need someone to talk to, my email is always open.

    1. Cheers Ellie, much appreciated. The same goes for you.

      For the moment I'm in that odd limbo where I can't do anything constructive but I can worry! Hopefully that will pass soon.

  5. Congratulations on finishing, Ellen!


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