Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nanowrimo Finish Line: The Sprint to 50K word count

I did it! 50K+ word count. I’m a Nano winner! I didn’t give up. I only had a couple of really low word count days (and a lot of angst), but now I have a good part of a working draft. Halleluiah! As the amazing fantasy writer, Holly Black reminded folks who were slowing down and doubting themselves during that difficult 3rd week: “Right now you are not writing a good book, you are writing a good draft.” Or as Chris Baty, who started Nano in 1999 reminded folks who were experiencing a sluggish mid-point in their draft: “Incite change… juice it up by inflicting some major changes on your characters. Crash the spaceship. End the marriage. Buy the monkey!” Or, a last piece of advice from super-sage, Tamora Pierce: "Set characters in motion, even if it's just to higher ground. You learn something, you can tell us something, by how people deal with with something that requires them to assemble themselves and move from their comfort zone."

These words of wisdom from nano peptalkers helped free me up to continue barreling ahead without obsessively editing, or poring over material from the day before. My Nano writing buddies helped spur me on too. Thanks, all! One of the few things that suffered, was my blog posting. But now that December is here, I will post more frequently. Promise.

What I learned from Nano:

I can actually write before noon!
Disaster won’t ensue if I let the laundry pile sky high
My family will be fine without daily home-cooked meals
If I write every day, I keep the story thread quite fresh
I do not need to obsessively edit each chapter as I go.
I can do a live write-as long as it’s not in Starbucks, with music blasting
There’s a huge adrenaline rush in banging out a draft so fast

And the best part? My “you-did-it" gift is a trip to China!

What’s your Nano experience? The most important thing you learned? The funniest thing you discovered? The hardest struggle? Your most proud moment? Your post-Nano gift to yourself?


  1. Congrats on finishing NaNo!! I did it last year and it is quite an experience. I'm still working on editing that story. :)

  2. Thanks, Susan! Yeah, I figure I'll print the rough draft out and that'll keep me busy on the long ride to China!

  3. Congrats!! That's so awesome!!!

    I won't finish by the end of november, as I've still got more than halfway to go. November is a difficult month for me because my kids are off the whole week of thanksgiving and I don't get to write on the weekends. But I will finish before the end of the year, and I'll have a good, solid, working draft. So yay for that! :)

    Congrats again!! You've got to be on cloud 9! :)

  4. Yay!!!!! You go girl! I can't wait to read it :-D

  5. Congratulations!! And a trip to China? Seriously?

  6. Congrats! I've definitely discovered my ability (and penchance) to write deeply emotional stuff while also writing high-charged adrenaline scenes. It was very exhausting.

    My reward? Umm...wrapping Christmas presents! And I'll probably get a good drink from Starbucks. :)

  7. I'm glad it worked well for you! I enjoyed the experience-as I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get moving, but toward the end I have been feeling very overwhelmed. The idea of organizing and editing all of this makes my head hurt and I'm pretty sure my plot got the shaft about 10k ago. I made it to over 30k which no complaints, but at the same time I decided I really didn't want to push out another 20k (personally) of words that were going to hit the cutting room floor. All in all though, it was a unique experience and I am def glad I participated.


  8. Best discovery was that I could spend a full month with my sweetie (who telecommutes), sitting in the same room, pecking away and having a wonderful time. Most useful discovery: I write best from late afternoon through about midnight (who knew?). Post-NaNoWriMo gift to self: need to install a new dishwasher. Off to Home Depot, then... I'm sure they'll be able to recognize a working novelist by my stained plumbing jeans.

  9. A new dishwasher. Great post-Nano gift!!!

  10. Yippeee! You rock. Can I go with you?

  11. It would be fun to take a whole group to China, wouldn't it?

  12. Congrats! Wow, with a "you did it" gift like a trip to China, I can see how you'd stay motivated. I really like the quote about not writing a good book, just a good draft. I think that can apply to all writers the first go-around for a WIP.

  13. Congrats on finishing Nano and have fun in China. Thanks for checking out my blog.