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Discussion | NaNoWriMo 2012 Experiences

Nano 2012 header

We're all book lovers here at Blogger's Bookshelf but did you know some of us are also writers too? 

This November writers, both amateur and professional, gather round on November 1st and aim to write a novel of at least 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th November, all for National Novel Writing Month - also lovingly called NaNoWriMo.

The types of novels written reach every single genre, they can be deadly serious books - ready to be edited into professional manuscripts - or utterly silly stories, people even write fanfiction. And the novel can be written on anything too...notebooks, iPads, napkins, emails, in blood - well maybe not in blood... - as long as you can tot up your word count at the end of the day it doesn't matter.

So why do people choose to do a challenge like this? Well, we'll let some of this year's competing 'WriMo's share their experiences....

I had no idea how I was going to do in Nanowrimo, this being my first year. However, by the first day I had written nearly two thousand words. I kept writing and making the deadlines and everything was going well. Then came a week where it just fell apart and I wasn’t motivated to write.

By 30th November, I had written 26,487 words in total, just making it over halfway. Even though I failed Nanowrimo, I really enjoyed the writing process. My story was about five girls and their mum going through life, coping with the loss of their father. Each girl goes through a problem which they don’t know how to deal with. Instead of talking about them, they write letters and send them to their sisters/ mother via a custom made post-box. It’s a story which I’m very passionate about and has made me very determined to finish it. I have started writing again and the story’s going really well. Overall, I loved doing Nanowrimo and I am very excited for next November so I can do it all over again! 

Nano 2012 Kath
I've done NaNo every November for four years, and Camp NaNo (both months) for the last two years – so it was devastating when I realised I wasn’t sure if I was able to do it this year. It’s my third year at University and well, it’s hard. And NaNoWriMo is hard. Excruciatingly hard. Exhilarating and exciting but so so hard.

But I’m competitive, and any challenge is a good one. So I did it anyway. I decided to be realistic, and set my goal at 25,000. The first night of NaNo, I wrote 5,000 words in three hours. My word count kept growing and I ended up finishing somewhere in the thirty thousands. 
For me, writing is a rush like none other. The best thing about coming home after an 8am-7pm day in the Uni library working on my dissertation is that I got to come home and lose myself in the world that only I knew about.

NaNo is not all about making the 50,000. Not for me anyway. NaNoWriMo is about laughing at your friends faces when you tell them you can’t go to the SU tonight because you've got to write a god damn novel in a month; about staying up all night eating your body weight in biscuits trying to finish that chapter; making friends all around the world... but most of all? NaNo is fun.

This was only my second year competing in Nanowrimo and I have to admit I was quietly confident. Despite losing Camp Nano in the Summer, I had won my first Nanowrimo challenge last year and hit just over 50k. But I knew I'd be busy this month so I set myself a lower target of 25k...easy for someone who'd already written 50k right? Oh boy, oh boy was I wrong. I had a total lifestyle flip this year. No longer subject to free hours at Uni that was easily filled with writing for my, terrible, terrible, novel, I now had to cope with working 6 days a week (at my professional work placement and part-time retail job), plus managing blog and social life, not to mention starting Blogger's Bookshelf with Erin - what was I thinking?!

I knew I'd never be reaching the top tiers of Nano counts to blocked any mention of 50k out my brain. But as the month went on I found myself floundering to write. I went in this year with no plan but had a story that had been sitting in my head for the past 4/5 years. I wanted to get it out and Nano was the perfect catalyst to do so. But it was hard! My main character turned into a bit of a Mary Sue, I couldn't remember some of the place names I'd made up and the plot wasn't really going anywhere. My body and brain were telling me go to sleep I forced myself to write something, anything, even ten words would become an achievement most days. My other problem with completing the challenge this time was...time. I had none. I had no energy. I had no motivation because I had no energy.

I hit a modest 20k in the end but I'm not too disappointed. Winning the challenge isn't about hitting that heavenly's all about the writing. It doesn't matter that my novel will need complete re-editing because I wrote something. And that's always a start as an amateur writer.
And as I said on twitter "It's not the word count that's the fact you actually wrote something." there's always next year, right?

Find out more about National Novel Writing Month here

This post written by regular reviewers Lucy & Ria (find out more about them here), and guest blogger Kath.


  1. Wow! I wanted to do this this year, but, to be honest, I completely forgot about it and then when someone mentioned it to me, it was half way through November already. Sigh. Maybe next year...?

    1. Definitely join us! I'll remind you next year ;) xoxo

    2. Oh please do!! Otherwise I will actually forget..again! :D

  2. I would love to do this next year but with a busy college/work life it'd be tough :( I may have to try it next year! :) x

    1. I'd say worth at least trying, doesn't matter how much you write the taking part is what counts in this! xoxo


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