Monthly Archives: November 2013

NaNoWriMo Part II

There are less than two weeks left in November, and NaNoWriMo is well under way. How far have you made it? Or, how close did you get before calling it a short story and downing a bottle of wine? Everyone has a story to tell, and even if it isn’t the story you originally planned, it’s a story nonetheless.
Numerous people have started what seemed to be a month of writing, but eventually it turned into a crash course in stamina. Do you have what it takes to finish? Many of you problem don’t, and a few might beat the 50,000 word limit, but the key is to keep writing no matter where your word count is today and that is what the WordPress bloggers in this post have done. They haven’t given up or shut down instead they’ve taken a deep breath and continued their work.
Vera Writes is a blog by Vera, who is a 50+ Christian woman with god on her side, and she loves nothing more than writing. Writing, however, hasn’t been so kind to Vera, for in her new post on NaNoWriMo, she states that “I am still chipping away at it, though it’s doubtful I’ll have 50,000 written by November 30th.” She admits that she has no idea what to write instead she decides that the only idea she really has is to fictionalize some of her own life. Maybe that doesn’t work for you, maybe you’re an amazing writer that can think of ideas out of the blue, but for Vera, what works for her is her own life experiences. If you want to follow Vera’s progress, she posts often on her blog at
When it comes to NaNoWriMo, Shawna Schaefer is another WordPress blogger that has met her match. She’s currently three days behind and only at 23,000 words, but unfortunately for Shawna, she’s hit a brick wall. She set herself up for daily word goals, but after experiencing two days in a constant state of anxiety, she’s decided that word goals aren’t her thing. She vows to complete her novel by taking the “stop-and-smell-the-roses” attitude because life gets in the way sometime, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily too hard to handle. To continue on the journey with Shawna, visit her blog at Maybe when you see that stress of NaNoWriMo isn’t going to kill you, you—like Shawna—may be able to take a calming and new approach at your novel writing venture.
Unlike Vera and Shawna, the last blogger, Michelle, a.k.a. The Barenaked Critic, seems to have NaNoWriMo all figured out. It’s week 3 and your word count should be 30,000, but for Michelle, she’s at 36,713 and cruising along. At this point in the novel, she’s reached her first major plot point and is working on avoiding the fluff that comes with the happy “I love you” scenes. The problem she is worried most about is the upcoming Thanksgiving travel plans because her 6,713 word lead may help her, but she doubts that she’ll have time to write during her travel plans. To follow her NaNoWriMo adventure, visit her site here.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at 36,000 words or 6,000 words, the key isn’t to see how fast or how slow you write; and chances are if you’re at 6,000 words, you’re not going to make it. The key is to write. Do what you love and just write. Don’t worry about word count or November 30th, worry about characters, setting, and plot. I’ve taught myself that staring at the word count only slows me down. It’s when I hide it and just write that I realize that I can get a lot of my work done faster. So, stop worrying about words and start worrying about those characters that need a resolution. Once they find that resolution, your job is done.

Until next time,
Keep writing.



One Month. One Novel. Only 50,000 words. NaNoWriMo is in full swing. Do you have what it takes to write a novel in a month? Some will succeed while others fail miserably, but as writers, we will always have each other’s back. WordPress is a great place to find blogs about NaNoWriMo. It also allows you to keep in touch with other writers who are relentlessly taking on the month of November one word at a time.
Selehen Bauer writes a comical, but informational blog entry, “Inevitable Furball to the Face,” about NaNoWriMo. Her first and most important bit of advice is to embrace NaNoWriMo and buy a lot of candy to fuel your writing. To better understand your characters, she suggests that you channel your inner actor or actress to help keep the words flowing. In her final piece of advice, she suggests that you “block” scenes, which is when you “set up the action of a scene before it happens.” “Blocking” a scene will allow you to “know where every character starts out when the scene opens, every exact movement they make during the scene, and where they end up when the scene closes.” These suggestions are not for everyone, but if you get stuck, you can always use a little advice.
Kelsie Egan also has a great blog entry, “NaNo Prep,” with information about preparing for NaNoWriMo. Her best advice is to plan for the worst and how to avoid failing. She suggests setting a word count for every day and trying to beat it. While Bauer mentions spontaneous writing, Egan suggests that you plan now, structuring your novel from characters to setting. One of my least favorite suggestion that Egan offers is buying a writing program—Scrivener, Evernote, and Aeon Timeline— for NaNoWriMo. I don’t agree with needing a program to help you write or organize your writing, but maybe I’m just old fashioned and enjoy using Word. My favorite suggestion Egan gives is to reward yourself when you reach the quarter mark, the half mark, and the final mark. Your ultimate goal is to finish, so why not celebrate along the way.
For a more laid back approach, you can read a blog entry written by Emmy Leigh, who simply gives you a brief description of her preparation for NaNoWriMo. She finds a peaceful coffee shop and makes notes about her characters. She mentions that she doesn’t just focus on main characters, but other characters that she will run into in her writings. The hardest part, she says, is “when the words flow to the point of needing a name and then it’s like hitting a wall.” No one likes hitting a wall and to avoid doing so, Leigh gives some great advice about how to approach characters.
I have never tried NaNoWriMo, but, for the past four years, my November has involved essay writing and presentations. After I graduate in December, next NaNoWriMo just might get a new competitor. My piece of advice to those who are brave enough to try NaNoWriMo is this: don’t stop. If you don’t make 50,000 words, it’s not the end of the world, because even when November 30th arrives, there’s always December 1st.

Until next time,
Keep writing.