NaNoWriMo 2012: Back to the Winner's Circle

After my first NaNoWriMo "loss" last year, I'm happy to be back in the winner's circle this year. I even managed to cross the 50,000-word finish line a few days early.

Near the end of October, I tried to get myself into the habit of writing every day, which – other than on Halloween – worked fairly well as a warm-up for NaNoWriMo. This month, I managed to avoid any zero-word days, although some days were pretty light on progress (my worst being a 500-word day). As you can see, I didn't really talk about NaNoWriMo in my blog this year, which is a big contrast from my first NaNo event in 2006, when I created a blog just for my participation that year. This year has been different in a number of ways, including lack of discussion in my blog, writing a sequel to an already-published novel (Lesson One: Revolution!), and more.

My history in NaNoWriMo was pretty clean until last year. I skipped 2007, but other than that I won every year… until last year. For my 2011 novel, I added some extra goals to the basic goal of writing 50,000 words in a new novel. I added in writing a complete novel using Celtx, and writing a complete novel via voice dictation (in my case, using Dragon NaturallySpeaking). Guess what? Added goals dilute focus! (Big surprise, eh?) Software issues quickly had me deciding which goal was more important, and I regret that purity using Celtx and dictation ended up taking precedence over reaching 50,000 words. So, I didn't even get halfway. Ugh.

This year I had no "tool" goals, and I used a variety of tools to get the job done. I wrote in Linux. I wrote in Windows. I wrote in Android on a phone. I emailed snippets to myself. I wrote short snippets in Google Drive. It was all good, and it all helped me reach the winner's circle ahead of schedule. Perhaps I should have set the goal of using a diverse tool set? Anyway, the main goal was to avoid a loss for a second year in a row, and I'm glad to say I achieved that goal.

What's next? Well, the story is not done, I'm guessing it's about 2/3 of the way done, or maybe only a half. Despite having some general ideas about where I wanted to take the story, I ended up basically "pantsing" it this year, which is a lot different compared to the 2009 project for which this year's novel is a sequel. Also, despite winning NaNoWriMo this year with this story, I don't really like it. It's far from being reader-ready. I'd like to eventually publish a sequel to Lesson One: Revolution! but I don't know whether it will be this book or if I'll start over from scratch. So what comes next will probably be, eventually, finishing this draft. Then I'll re-read it and see if it's worth keeping. What comes after that is hard to say.

For now, I'm glad to be a NaNoWriMo winner again. Overall, NaNoWriMo is an impressive event — over 2.6 billion words were written in new novels for this year's event. I hope that the 501(c)3 non-profit organization that organizes it can continue doing so in future years. If you'd like to help them do that, please consider making a small donation to them. (Your donation may be tax deductible.)

By Stuart Whitmore

About the Author
Stuart J. Whitmore is an author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a photographer, technology developer, and more. If you enjoy reading his blog posts, you might also enjoy reading his books. Take a look at the books by Stuart J. Whitmore today, and download your copy of one that looks interesting to you!