Side note before we start: if you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, it just stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, writers come together around the world and try to write a whole novel – which is, technically speaking, considered to be 50,000 words. So, the goal becomes to write 50,000 during November.
I am infamous for my NaNoWriMo shenanigans: every year, ever since I began this blog, I’ve spent the month of November rushing to write 50,000 words alongside thousands of other writers, sharing my experiences (and snippets!) on my blog. Not to mention all my posts helping writers prep for NaNoWriMo, or posts after the fact. Here, actually, I’ll compile a whole list:
- NaNoWriMo: Week 1/2
- NaNoWriMo: Week 2
- NaNoWriMo: Week 3
- NaNoWriMo: Week 4
- NaNoWriMo: Week 5 (Final Week!)
Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo Series
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Save
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Your Writing Time
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Go with the Flow
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: That Perfect Word
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Every Word Counts
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Habit
- Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Sprinting
- NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 1-3
- NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 4-10
- NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 11-17
- NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 18-24
- NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 25-30
- Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2020 (which, by the way, has links to a buuuuuuuunch of posts I’d written just before this one)
- NaNoWriMo 2020: Days -5-1
- NaNoWriMo 2020: Days 2-8
- NaNoWriMo 2020: Days 9-15
- NaNoWriMo 2020: Days 16-22
- NaNoWriMo 2020: Days 23-30 (Final Week!)
I literally have a countdown on the bottom of my blog at the footer. Like, when I say I’m into NaNoWriMo, I mean that I’m into NaNoWriMo. 🤣
I also am not exactly the best at following the rules of this challenge: I stared a day early in 2018, five days early in 2020, and in both 2018 and 2019, had to do a crazy amount of writing in the final week to just barely make it to the finish line.
So… why would I, of all people, decide to not do NaNoWriMo this year?
Participating in NaNoWriMo has been an incredible experience for me. It taught me to discipline myself as a writer, allowed me to find out when I can write the best (around 3 in the afternoon), and has left me with many fond memories. I wrote The Storm Inside, the revised edition of The Storm Inside, and last year I worked on The Coffee Shop Book. I mean, that’s at least 150k words right there of my writing career! How crazy is that?
I adore being able to share my writing more freely with others during the month of November: I open the door a little, and let you peek inside at my life and see how much I sometimes actually struggle to get my own writing done. I know that, on the internet, we all tend to be guilty of only showing the idyllic parts of writing. The good days, the ones with the perfect cups of coffee, and the ones where we’re jamming away with our colour-coded notes.
But during my posts in November, I reveal exactly what gets in my way (unless it’s something to do with my private life), which for the past couple of years has mainly been school. 😆 But last year I was also getting used to having Invisalign (which I actually just got off this past Thursday!!) and had driver’s ed for 5 hours each Saturday on top of that.
I like to be honest on my blog about my writing, seeing as my tagline is A Writer’s Journey. And, yes, it definitely is not always Instagram worthy. 😆 But that’s okay.
Which is why I’m sharing that… I actually had been planning a new story to write for NaNoWriMo.
I even shared a little bit about it on my YouTube channel! Like, I was that committed. I bought books for research purposes. I was planning out multiple arcs for it. I’ve been trying to plan this book since the beginning of this year.
So, what went wrong?
Nothing, really; I always struggle with outlining, so that was no surprise to me. I love the concept of this book, and I think it could be really amazing.
But no matter how hard I tried to focus on it… I couldn’t.
My heart just kept getting called back to The Coffee Shop Book – sometimes when I was literally in the middle of figuring out things for the other book! I eventually came to the point where I had to admit to myself that it just wasn’t the time for me to work on the new novel.
If you’ve followed my YouTube channel at all, then you’ll know that I finished my 2nd Draft of The Coffee Shop Book, and even read through it. After that, I’ve mostly been silent on social media about what I’ve been doing for it. The only place I’ve revealed anything was my email list, and even then I was kind of secretive. (If you’re not subscribed, you can right here! 🙂 )
So… if I’m not doing a new first draft for NaNoWriMo, then what am I even doing all of November this year?
What I’m doing Instead
The point of NaNoWriMo, some might say, is to write 50,000 words. Which it kind of is.
But in my own humble opinion, it goes beyond that.
It’s a teacher.
It teaches you to be disciplined about your writing, to know what it’s like to show up for yourself and for your writing every day, and to just get some words on the page rather than overthinking everything. You gain more experience with every word you write, so writing anything is beneficial to you and will help you grow as a writer – a fact I can testify to.
NaNoWriMo is an investment in yourself: in becoming a better writer. In giving your story the attention it deserves.
So, with all that in mind… I’m doing a different kind of NaNoWriMo this year:
I’m going to be working on revising The Coffee Shop Book instead of writing 50,000 words.
I don’t hope to write 50,000 words in revisions, even though almost every single scene in my story has some change or another going on in it. My goal is to finish my 3rd Draft of this novel.
…and to share about it on my blog! 😁
What, did you think you could get away with a year of me posting all of November about my writing? 😆 In fact, this year, I have something else I’m doing as well!
I’ve created a fun sort of side-quest for you to complete: a bingo.
Sounds weird, I know. But picture a lot of mini-goals on your journey to your big goal: to write 50,000 words. On the way, however, you will have many small successes! To make it even more interesting, I’d suggest setting up certain rewards that would be unlocked once you complete a row – or the whole sheet! 😄 (Personally speaking, I doubt I’ll finish the whole thing, bUT if I do, I’ll get myself a nice coffee 😆) It’s on my Resources page, so if you want the password to that, you just have to subscribe. 😊
This is totally not what NaNoWriMo is. 😆 But I’m no stranger to revising the rules of NaNoWriMo to my own needs! So let’s do this 😎
Are you doing NaNoWriMo?
If so, what project are you working on? (Probably not a bunch of revisions haha)
And did you notice that, once again, I’m posting this a day late? 😅😂