My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Monday, December 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo, a Look Back

Today I printed and framed my NaNoWriMo winner's certificate. Its really just ink on a plain white piece of paper, held behind glass by plastic that I bought at the dollar store. Still, it means something to me. Now I know that I'm probably still years away from my first published piece of fiction, short story or novel; but that little piece of plain vanilla white paper with ink on it in the dollar store frame is a reminder that I did something I didn't think I could do. A friend asked me if I was doing NaNoWriMo, didn't really encourage me to do it, just a simple question, are you doing NaNoWriMo? I had heard about it in podcasts, and watched some of my favorite author's word count graphs go up last November on their NaNo profile pages, but I said, no. I can't do NaNo this year, I'm just too busy. I have an awesome wife and 1 1/2 year old son, I just wouldn't have time to do NaNoWriMo. But his simple question sparked my interest just enough. I thought, I've been wanting to write short stories next, maybe I'll write a whole bunch of short stories, but realized that I'd have to come up with a lot of short stories. I'd had a novel that I wanted to write soon because it had to do with the current economy, except in the future on a different planet. It was a YA Sci-Fi novel, I thought I've got quite a bit of notes on it, I'll write an outline and 50K will be a good length for a YA novel, after all my first novel only turned out to be 48K. I thought I probably would get to 30K if I was lucky, but hey, I would have half of a novel written in a month, that wouldn't be too bad! Well I did NaNoWriMo and to my surprise, I got to 50K words in 28 days. The other thing that surprised me was that my book wasn't near being finished, its still in act II actually. It will end up being around 90K I think, a proper sized novel by today's standards. So now I just have to finish it.

Doing NaNoWriMo was the most fun I've ever had writing, I highly recommend it if you've ever wanted to try writing a novel. It gave me a strong sense of community with the other thousands of writers doing the event during November. I didn't even meet anyone in person, but just knowing there were literally thousands of other people out there all around the planet, and even a large group in my home town, was very inspirational to get me to those 50K words. I was writing alone, but I wasn't really writing alone. With people tweeting their wordcount updates on Twitter, and having writing buddys on the NaNo site who's wordcount graphs I could see going up, it felt like I was in a community, it was awesome. I had a blast. Next November, give it a try, you won't regret it. Even if you don't make it to 50K, you'll have fun and hey you'll write more than you would have in the month of november. Check out their awesome site: NaNoWriMo


  1. Your first experience with NaNoWriMo sounds pretty similar to my own, especially the "Most fun I've ever had writing part". I'm glad you got involved and gained so much from it. I know it's the reason I keep coming back too.

    Now, as a winner you have the option to get a free copy of your NaNoBook printed. I strongly encourage that; there's nothing quite like holding the book you wrote in your hands.

  2. Thanks Mike for being the one to ask me that simple question :) I'm definately going to do it next year, and I'm definately going to get a free copy of my book, hey that's a good deadline for me to finish the manuscript! Maybe they'll print the finished one if I can get it done in time, that would be so awesome to hold in my hands. I still remember the first time I printed my first manuscript out after finishing and spell checking it, holding a bound book would be that much cooler!