It’s the day after the close of NaNoWriMo, that juggernaut that drives many into a November of frenetic writing. Yet instead of a rough and ready 50K manuscript, I’ve logged back on to my neglected NaNo account to check out my word count of – drum roll please – 5977.  And no, I haven’t missed a zero off anywhere. And yes, the drumroll was totally undeserved.

So what went wrong?

Nothing actually. Life happens. Got sick. Have kids and other responsibilities. Discovered Scrivener…

Well I didn’t actually discover Scrivener (the much lauded writing software package), so much as a writing bud  taught me how to use it properly. The result was my November disappeared into a frenzy of transferring the WIPs, importing pictures from pinterest, colouring-coding, cross-referencing and writing in-depth character summaries. I found I had an instant overview of my giant story and an easy-to-manage way of navigating the text. I got excited about writing again.

It was a revelation.

In fact so enamoured have I been one friend actually said…

Well if you love Scrivener so much, why don’t you marry it?

She really did. To be fair I may have been laying it on a bit thick. Channelling my inner 14 year old…

As for NaNo, however, I’ve had to acknowledge that after two years of failing to get anywhere close to writing a novel in a month, that perhaps it is time to hang up the October-tinted glasses and just write when I can, in the way that works best for me.

For all those who slogged it out this November and smashed the wordcount out of the park – you are NaNo rockstars! But as for this writer – I’m afraid it’s NoMoWriMo for me!

24 thoughts on “NoMoWriMo

  1. I haven’t ever seen a true value in it, and a lot of others are writing (blogs, etc) saying the same. (Just Google, “Just Say No To NaNoWriMo” and you’ll see several.) Anyway, don’t feel like you failed at anything, for you haven’t.

    1. Thanks Daniel. Actually I don’t feel like a failure (which is good – it is so easy to fall down that rabbit hole) – but I guess I just figured it doesn’t work for me. I wish I had the time to do it like that, and the ability to write without spending a decent amount of planning / research time – but I don’t. So no point knocking myself out.

  2. Even though you didn’t hit the magic 50,000 words in November (neither did I), it certainly didn’t sound like a wasted month. Cracking Scrivener and discovering what a revelation it is for your writing sounds pretty good to me!

    1. No it definitely hasn’t been a wasted month. Cracking Scrivener was a major deal. Although I thought your NaNo wordcount was pretty healthy – congrats! I do enjoy being able to see everyone else’s numbers – one of the many great benefits of NaNo. But I do just need to keep on doing my own thing when I can!

  3. Cracking the Scrivener code is, in and of itself, an awesome achievement. I use it . . . irregularly. That means I often forget how to do things and have to look them up in process, which in turn just ticks me off and . . . right now I’m back to word for the current project. But I do have several WIPs in Scrivener and will get back to it.

    1. Yes it was a big deal… seriously I watched the tutorial twice and still didn’t get it. However 15 minutes with a friend who could use it (IT guy) and it all became crystal clear. Or at least alot less murky….

  4. We celebrate our epic failures with Donuts in Richmond. Several years ago, a group of us decided to celebrate the effort. 🙂

    Remember, it’s about the effort and habit.

    1. Hmmm the donut habit sounds downright dangerous – but yummy too! I heard of an old lady who had a great body image – if she went shopping and clothes didn’t fit she would always blame it on the clothes. ‘Darling they don’t suit me.’ I’m just cultivating the same attitude to things like NaNo. Nothing wrong with it – but not suited to me!

    1. I did like your Scrivener post! Seriously it took me a year. I knew it would be awesome, but just couldn’t make it work. It seems like lots of people are in the same boat. In my case lack of techno savvy and frustration that my writing time was being used up wrestling with a not familiar (or not-the-same-as-my-intuitive programme). But once we bridged that… (thanks to a real life writer / computer guy) it has been as brilliant as I hoped!

  5. I want to use Scrivener, but for now it seems that Evernote serves my needs better. Maybe I just don’t know enough about Scrivener to make it do what I need it to do. 😛

    1. In some perfect reality we could just download the ability to operate Scrivener straight away… although it’s funny how even when we can’t drive Scrivener there’s something writerly in us that really wants to be able to…

      1. this is true… I’ve used the trial and liked a lot of the features, but I need something that can sync between machines… Thus Evernote. I’ve learned to link between posts in Evernote, though, and that’s revolutionized my use of it.

      2. Fair enough too. Being technophobic I only have one machine I write on! But hubby just introduced me to the joy of evernote. Apparently it’s a great way for me to write lists of jobs I want him to do when he’s out… totally seeing the benefits!

  6. I failed at NaNo this year. I am good at these contests, but my goals were different than just writing.
    I shouldn’t say I failed. I edited 2 hours a day as planned, and submitting things as planned, and finished a paper. But I wrote about 1/2 of what I planned, and will finish one project 3 or 4 days late. So a mixed month.
    NaNo does some things but not all things. It is good you prioritized.

    1. It sounds like you still had a really productive month! But I agree with the different goals thing. It’s great when they align – but not the end of the world when they don’t!

  7. With my current schedule, I tend to average 10-15K quality words a month. I revise as I go, so that slows me down a bit. I cannot imagine writing 50K in a month and actually keeping most of it. LOL Everyone has a different style…go with what works for you as a writer. I purchased Scrivener in June. I haven’t yet had time to learn how to use it. Maybe in March or so…when this current WIP is done? We’ll see.

    1. I’m happier with quality rather than quality – the editing process the one time I won NaNo was practically a re-write, which sort’ve defeated the purpose. Some really good things did come of it, but I’m not sure the time invested was really worth it. Good luck with Scrivener – it really does take time to get your head around it – but worth it if you can.

  8. I’ve been saying I should try Scrivener for months now… I really need to get on with it already! And don’t worry, you’re not the only one who ended up NoMoWriMo-ing 😉

    1. LOL the NoMoWriMo’s quite a club now. And I hope your Scrivener experience goes well – I pass the baton for Scrivener love. I’m pretty technophobic, so you should be fine!

  9. I don’t think I’d ever have written a novel at all were it not for NaNoWriMo and a really wonderful friend who gets gung-ho into it every year. 🙂 I lost for the third time this year (out of seven), though, so I understand it’s not necessarily ideal for everyone.

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