October 31st, 2013


Nanowrimo! Nanofimo! Nanoo Nanoo!

So for the last few years, come November, I have been doing my own little version of Nanowrimo called “Nanofimo”—National Novel Finishing Month.

Actually, I rarely actually finish anything in November, but what I try to do is slam a few more thousand words on existing works and get them a little farther along. My work method involves keeping a dozen stories going at any given time, abandoning for months or years, coming back, working on them more.

It works for me. Stuff does get finished. That’s the important bit.

There are authors who get very snooty about Nanowrimo and say things like “Yeah, well, I have to sit down and write every single day because this is my job.” 

To this I say, “Oh, put a sock in it. It’s my job too, and I think it’s awesome.”

I do sit down—when my schedule is not completely travel-destroyed, as it is currently—four days a week and put down a minimum of a thousand words. But November is special and I double down and try to do 2.5K a day and drag out old stuff and say “This doesn’t suck” and throw words at it. (And the next time I drag it out, I have often forgotten that I added to it and am pleasantly surprised.)

And then there’s the corollary, where people say “You know that’s not ALL there is to writing a novel! You still have to edit it!” and I will not insult your intelligence because duh. (Certainly there are people who don’t know this—but I am guessing they do not read writer’s blogs and see all the bits with the weeping and the editing. Heck, the last few DAYS around here…)

Now, if you want inspiration, here’s what I’ve got.

Last year, I sat down and did that, and while I was fooling around trying to make word count, I started a new thing from a vague germ of an idea I was having. I put about twelve thousand words down, poked it a few times over the succeeding months, and finally send it off to my agent with my standard “So there’s thing I’ve been fooling with…”

She sold the book three days later.

It took longer than that to get the details done, of course, and I still had to finish the book, which took a few months, and no contract on earth has ever moved faster than the snail flies, but it’s tentatively scheduled for Spring 2015.

Would I have written it eventually? Probably. Would I have sat down and hammered out as much as I did, if I wasn’t trying to make wordcount for Nano? Probably not. So, y’know. There’s that.

If you like Nanowrimo, if you like Nanofimo, do it. Kick ass, take names, drive your verbs before you and hear the lamentations of their prefixes.

If you finish, great! If not, you still have more than you started with.


(I will be starting it when I get back—we have a Disney family vacation next week, which means that if you follow me on Twitter @ursulav there is a good chance you’ll see some Tweets! Of! Interest!)


Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.