Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Here we go again...

NaNoWriMo did not go very well for me last year.

To say the least.

Last year I had an idea for a story - it was amazing. That was enough for me, I was going to do NaNoWriMo and write that book! 

I quit ONE WEEK into the month.

After consideration, here's three ways I went wrong:

1) The number one most horrific thing I did was read over my work at the end of the day. I'd fix it up, make it pretty, and then read over it again the next day before writing more. I came to hate my story. It was boring. I was a horrible writer. What was I thinking? Apparently I couldn't write a novel at all. There were many tears.

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE. I hope you have more sense then I did, but just in case: DON'T EDIT AS YOU GO.

2) Writing was not my first priority. Call it procrastination, if you will, but after my schoolwork was done for the day and as the keyboard sat waiting for my tapping fingertips, I would do other stuff. Clean my room. Mop the kitchen floor. Anything to avoid writing, though not completely intentionally. I wanted to write; just "not right now".

3) I spent more time developing characters than the actual story. Sure, I had an original idea. Sure, I knew how the story would end. Sure, developing characters is very important.

But I spent hours, day after day, looking up pictures to represent my characters, cutting up magazines, reading inspirational quotes, and completely procrastinating from thinking about the plot.

Do I still look at pictures on Pinterest for inspiration? Um, of course.

Do I still cut a clothing and eyes out of magazines to paste on my characterization board? YES.

Do I still grin and get all jittery when I read a beautiful quote that makes me want to hide away from life and pour my soul out onto paper (or screen, whatever)? So much yes.

Do I still ignore my plot and the actual grittiness of writing a novel? To be completely truthful: Sometimes. However, this year, for NaNo, I'm taking a class with actual classmates and an actual teacher.

*shocked silence*

My teacher sends the class home with prompts and goals and grades them. So basically I'm getting school credit BY DOING NaNoWriMo, which is pretty awesome. Anyway, having this class and a devoted teacher has really helped me so far. I'm confident in my plot, adore my characters, and am itching for November 1st to arrive.


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If you have a YWP account, add me as a buddy! I mean, if you want to, which you might not. Don't... Unless you really want to. So, just in case you do, which you might not, my username is lilyember.


  1. Wow this is really exciting Lily! I hope you do well this year! Are you taking the class at the homeschool co-op? I took classes there until this year and my mom still teaches there so I know everybody who goes there. My friend Chloe is actually taking the same class as you! She was telling me about her story today haha- what's your story going to be about?

    1. Thanks! Yes, the class I'm taking is the one with Chloe :) Hmmm...my story isn't simple to explain. Let's just say it's a sci-fi told from the perspectives of a girl and her clone. I was thinking about doing a post on what my story is about, but I might wait until December.

  2. Don't wait, don't put it off. You can love something but still find it difficult and have to make an effort. Even relationships, just sit down and write anything that comes to mind even if it isn't about your book.. Good luck :)

  3. It is so hard sometimes to keep our minds on NaNo. But having prompts is sure to help, and not editing as you go. I've heard that is huge. I was warned so much about it when I first started I was too scared to even look at any word I'd written the day of.

    You can do it this year though! I believe it!

    1. Thank you! I'm actually ahead for the time being, which is encouraging!

  4. I've stumbled upon this article in a Google+ group and now I'm curious to now how you did for 2014. I'll check your blog to see if you've updated. But from what I've read it looks like you didn't do this one thing for yourself: pre-write. You could've used the whole month of October to do so, heck even the whole year to get a good idea of where you're going. I'm a half and half pantser/planner and have enough details to help the writing process flow smoothly. That said, I failed pretty miserably in 2014 (from some of the problems you've listed) but epicly succeeded in 2013.

    Here's my NaNo story if you're interested. I find the failure to be more interesting because of all I learned.
    Miserable Failure: http://belartscorner.blogspot.com/2014/11/my-nanowrimo-2014-phoenix-rises-and.html

    Epic Success:http://belartscorner.blogspot.com/2013/12/my-nanowrimo-story-part-1.html

    1. I didn't "win" NaNo either, but, like you, what I did accomplish (about 35,000) is greatly satisfying. My class and I did take September and October to plot and develop our separate novels, but even with that I was desperately ill-prepared in several instances. The biggest issue I had was with any scene involving military-practices/formations/tactics, which I skipped due to how much time I wasted trying to think of and research answers. I still haven't written those scenes in yet, but I have collected facts and brainstormed my game-plan for when I do.

      Congrats on your epic win in 2013 and thanks for commenting!


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