WAW: NaNo Wrap-up

Writing About Writing: A once-a-week post about some aspect of writing. I’m not an expert; I’m just some guy. Take it with a grain of salt.

Tomorrow is the end of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’m going to do a little introspection.

First, I’m going to finish. I have a couple thousand words left to smash out and a boring day job that affords me way too much free time. If I even consider trying, I’m going to hit 50,000.

But I’m not actually that interested in “winning.”

I have to admit, NaNo felt like an empty, and perhaps even destructive, exercise for me personally. I have before me a steaming pile of garbage that reveals the flaws in my planning, but provides little actual value.

This month, I worked on a novel-length story. It turns out it is dramatically too short and suffers from a couple other big issues. In my opinion, forging ahead for the sake of NaNo exacerbated those issues. Rather than going back and revising my planning documents, rather than delving deeper into the inner workings of my world, rather than figuring out the nuts and bolts that I now see are missing, I marched ahead for the sake of a word count. It may have been a better decision for me to quit and tinker and write some other time. I’m not optimistic about the salvable-ness of most of this.

But so many words!

Yay? I don’t know. They feel pretty worthless. They’re not an outline, but they’re also certainly not a story. They’re less useful than vomit; at least in vomiting you get some poison or junk out of your body. This is less than junk.

Debby Downer

I’m not trying to say anyone else shouldn’t do NaNo. And I’m not saying 50,000 words is nothing. For me, it was. But for lots of people it wasn’t. And that’s great. Good for them. I’m truly happy for my friends who set a goal and hit it and are excited about achieving that. I just happen not to be one of those people.


NaNo ain’t my thing. If it’s yours, cool. But this November taught me two important lessons:

  1. Don’t do NaNo anymore, you silly dope
  2. Never, ever, EVER go to New Jersey during a major holiday. EVER. (Ever.)


None. Take a break. Congratulate yourself, if congratulations are in order. Push through these final two days and then let your brain and fingers cool off for a minute.


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