My NaNoWriMo Diary | Days 8-12

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for only slightly shorter. The aim of the game is to get down a legible 50,000 words, which means completing an average of 1,667 words per day for thirty days. I’ve failed (drastically) once before, but 50k would bring me past the finish line of the first draft of Novel No.2, so…

But despite a good 6 hours of start time enthusiasm, Week 1 didn’t go so well. (Catch up here and here.) I managed a respectable-ish 7,635 words but soon floundered under the pressure of producing 1,667 words a day or… well, nothing actually happens if you fail, but you get the idea. I thought doing NaNo would give me the push I needed to add 50,000 words to my current work in progress but there’s something about authority that makes me want to do the opposite. (This is why WeightWatchers doesn’t work for me – my leader’s enthusiastic encouragement actually makes me want to eat cake.) Suffice to say, things haven’t been going well…

Day 8 | Monday 8th November

No words…

Day 9 | Tuesday 9th November

…still no words…

Day 10 | Wednesday 10th November

…and still no words. Disastrous! But I blame the delivery of Jane Wenham Jones’ amazing new book, Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of? (which I’m in, a little bit – have I mentioned that yet today?) and the shopping trip which was supposed to be for a winter coat but turned out to be for an amazing cupcake stand from M&S (pictured below), and mini gingerbread men which will fit PERFECTLY into the silver pail decorations I’ll hang on one of my two planned Christmas trees.

Distracted? Me? Never.

Day 11 | Thursday 11th November

Went to Dublin first thing in the morning…

Day 12 | Friday 12th November

… and stayed overnight. So both these days were write-offs, NaNo-wise.

And here’s the thing: I’ve decided to throw in the towel. I just can’t take the pressure, and I certainly can’t work under it. I thought that maybe making my NaNo efforts public would give me no option put to succeed, but it didn’t. NaNo, in my humble opinion, is perfect for experimenting with a project or trying a new genre or something, but for me it’s only having an adverse on my work-in-progress and I can’t afford to let it continue.

So I’m going to go back to write the way I normally do, which is to do as much as I can on any given day, but not berate myself if the imaginary voices in my head decide to stay quiet for a couple of them.

I hope the NaNo Overlords – and you, dear blog reader – can forgive me.

(And if you can’t, be kind!)

10 thoughts on “My NaNoWriMo Diary | Days 8-12

  1. Emma Newman says:

    There’s nothing to forgive! Nano is a bizarre hothouse, not the long road by any means, and just having a crack has helped you to figure some stuff out by the sound of it.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thanks Emma! I really wanted to do it for the laugh/fun/participation factor but when I involved my WIP the stakes were just a bit too high – as were the stress levels! Feel so much better now that I’m not constantly carrying sickening guilt around everywhere with me when I’m not banging out those 1667 words! 😉

  2. Lindsay Edmunds says:

    I think NaNo works best for people who DON’T have a WIP. The pressure that adds to the situation would have to be considerable.

    The one year I did it, I came out of it with a raw draft of the novel now polished and ready to go out in the world if cover designer ever actually gives me a cover. But — and here I am being brutally honest — the fail rate of that first draft, based on the number of words from it that actually made it into the final draft, was more than 99%.

    Which is why I never did NaNo again, good though that one experience was for me.

      • Evelyn Walsh says:

        Well, thank the stars above that I have a NaNoWriMo bailout buddy (you will be such…please!)Having started two novels in the last fifteen days and contemplating a third I was delighted to have confirmed to day(may god in her wisdom forgive me) tennis elbow in one arm and carpal tunnel syndrome in the other thus giving me legit excuses to abandon 1667 words a day. Seriously, most of what I ‘abandoned’ was dross. It takes a lot longer than a year to write a book – forget about a month. Yeah, you can produce 50k words but honestly only about 10 to 15k of them will survive ruthless editing six months later. Onwards and upwards………

  3. Georgia Holleran says:

    Hey Catherine – just caught up with your blog – Love it. Your NaNoWriMo diary was perfect. I did NNWM some some six or seven years ago and it was great as I had NO IDEAS WHATSOEVER for a novel (and probably never will) but the process of letting the characters not only invent themselves but go on to write the book was hilarious (and somewhat risqué in places!). So I totally agree with all your respondees here: do if for an experiment and a laugh. Not for a ‘real’ book idea as that needs a totally different approach. Diving into your other posts now . . .

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thanks Georgia! I’ve found the only thing that works for me is when someone else is waiting for the result. Not even the pressure of NaNo can overcome my overwhelming desire to procrastinate! 😀

  4. Elizabeth Anne says:

    I attempted Camp NaNoWriMo in June. I had a very similar experience. It was hell. I quit. I felt so much better (and could finally breathe again) once I did. Glad I’m not the only one!

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