Looking back at NaNoWriMo 2014

Shield-Nano-Side-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResThe month is over, my mad dash to 50,000 words came up short. Very short. I didn’t even manage to write 15,000 words this year, and that’s including my background and world building work in my word count. Still as I sit here and look back at the month I feel like it’s been a success. I found a new world I want to explore with stories. My son wrote over 1000 words of his own novel and seemed to really enjoy the process. So I thought that I would take some time on this the first of December and write about my experiences during NaNoWriMo

I first attempted NaNoWriMo 10 years ago, in the before time. Back then I was able to write over 75,000 words in 30 days. Since then I have half heartedly attempted to compete in NaNoWriMo a handful of time. Most years focusing on my blog instead of a novel. Last year it changed. Last year I sat down and tried to win. I failed. My word count topping out at 22,000. I failed. I tried to tell a story from my youth, set in a world I created in High school with my friends. I thought I needed the familiar setting to give my novel a foundation. It wasn’t enough. Though I wrote a lot I never became invested in my story or my characters. It’s strange that story I was trying to tell was one I’ve been thinking about on and off for close to 2 decades, perhaps in another 10 years I’ll be able to tell it.


This year on the eve of NaNoWriMo I was hit with inspiration for a novel, something new. Something I hadn’t tried to write before. It felt good starting November off with a sense of inspiration, but it soon became obvious that all I had was a setting, and some broad strokes of ideas. I didn’t have a plot. I pushed through but only managed to write a few thousand words in the first week. In search of inspiration I tried many things, from putting together a cover, to writing out the history of my world. It was as I worked on the history that inspiration hit, and I had an outline for a plot. Sure it moved the timeline of my world up a couple of thousand years (Making my cover and title completely wrong), but I could see a beginning, middle and almost an end. This was good. In three days I more than doubled my word count and thought I was on my way to winning. It didn’t last. I wasn’t able to maintain it. By the end of the second week I knew that the leafs had a better chance at winning the cup then I did at hitting 50,000 words.

Knowing that I would fail didn’t stop me from writing. I was truly inspired to write this story, a feeling that I haven’t had in years, and to be honest I missed it. I also wanted to keep encouraging Jacob to write, so write I did. Of course looking back on it now I realize the problem was one of scope. This years novel is one of the most complex stories I’ve tried to write. As I wrote I found myself struggling to identify all the characters and tell the story in each of their voices. The solution I think for that is prep and planning, two things that NaNoWriMo doesn’t really provide the time for. So I have decided that I will not stop my writing, I will go on. First I will take a step back and focus on my blog for December. I want to be doing more than posting my pictures of the day. Once I have that figured out I will sit down and figure out how to write my novel.

My biggest regret was not finding more time to write with Jacob. He did really well in the few sessions we did have, that I’m sure he could have done even better with a few more. It makes me happy to see his interest in writing. It is one of the two things that I’ve enjoyed since I was his age (The other being programming). I hope to be able to encourage that going forward. That said  I thought it would be fun to end today’s post with a short exert from his novel.

Once upon a time on a bright and beautiful day there were 2 twin brothers .named Brian and Brian #2 .they went everywhere together. the North pole the lake or even just to get a booster juice .one day the twins were going to the pool when someone asked Brian#2 if he wanted to be a superhero?


2 thoughts on “Looking back at NaNoWriMo 2014

  1. Happy Holidailies. I’ve given up on NaNoWriMo…I finished every time I participated, but what I wrote wasn’t good. I’ve found my own process…here’s hoping you do, as well.

  2. I’ve “won” NaNo two years now, but to some extent the key has been accepting that what I was writing didn’t have to live up to my internal standards, that the point was just to get something in the document so that I could figure out a lot of that stuff–the characters, the plot, all that. For me, I tend to procrastinate actually writing: I think about the world or the characters or the plot but never really get started. So, to that extent, NaNo worked for me and I just barely got the 50k I aimed at. Of course, I’d guess I have another 100k to finish the novel, and even then there will be a lot of rewriting to get something I’m happy with.

    Best wishes to you for continuing the work you’ve gotten started in a way that works for you!

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