NanoWrimo 2012 - How was it for you? December 1, 2012 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Nanowrimo is finally over, so, Nanoing Mefites, how was it for you? Lets hear your nano tales, tales of joy, of woe, of laughter, and of tears; the highs and the lows, the good, the bad and the downright ugly of wrimoing.

I can appreciate that for a lot of people in the USA who wished to participate, that this year was not a good year - a parish council election and a thunderstorm struck the village at just the wrong time! - so to those affected by these events, I send my sympathy and commiserations.

Well, I WON!!! 50237 words of garbage but I did it! Went to a couple of local write ins, was active on the forums, mailing people and (at the end, when I had finished) urging people on to the finish line. God it was overwhelming to win.

And thanks to cortex for his comment, which so accurately described my nano effort (at the end it was just walls of dialogue, neatly lined up on the left!).

And thanks to all the Mefites who signed up and by doing so persuaded me to sign up. Thank you.
posted by marienbad to MetaFilter-Related at 5:15 AM (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I finished at just over a hair over 50,000 words.

I've won a couple of times before, and I've written a bunch of novels, so winning itself wasn't too exciting, but in some ways I'd begun to lose faith in my ability to write quickly and happily and just enjoy the process -- for various reasons I haven't actually finished a first draft of anything since 2009. So I was glad to get that back.
posted by Jeanne at 7:14 AM on December 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo was a huge success for me. You might recall my post in MeFi Projects regarding my autistic son's experience with Snow White's Scary Adventures at Walt Disney World. Right after the experience of the closing night at the end of May I started telling people about how I was going to write a book about the whole thing. Frustratingly, for months afterward I wold wake up every morning and be disappointed to find that the book still hadn't written itself while I was asleep.

NaNoWriMo turned out to be just the motivation I needed to get the job done. I completed the book on November 27th, and it is currently in the hands of my editor. I have also engaged an artist for the cover artwork. The final edit should be complete by the first of the year, and the book will be available at all of your favorite online retailers in both dead-tree and eBook versions by early spring.

I never actually submitted the book to NaNoWriMo because I fail on two counts there - it's not a novel (biographies don't count), and several portions of the book are built around contemporaneous journal entries and blog posts, so it isn't 100% new words written in November. Still and all, it is more than 50,000 words and I would never have gotten it done without the motivation and tools that NaNoWriMo provided.

Look for another MeFi Projects post in a few months once the book is available for purchase.
posted by Lokheed at 7:41 AM on December 1, 2012 [16 favorites]

Congratulations! Awesome achievement; my hat is off to you all.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2012

I didn't win but I'm okay with it and actually really enjoyed the experience. I went to one write-in, met some cool people and had the following personal revelations:

* 1667 words is not that much
* 50,000 words is a lot
* I really do like writing nonfiction more than fiction (I was a nawrimo rebel)

and most importantly...

* I am way happier when I have a wacky project in the works

I've been doing the suburban-mom-w/2 kids thing for so long that I have pretty much enforced austerity when it comes to wacky projects. Any given day is packed to the gills with stuff I've got to do just to feel adequate. Chop down enormous weeds in the yard. What the hell has glued a butter knife to the kitchen table? Etc.

I felt really good about myself when I was clicking away with my 1667 words a day at the beginning of the month. Then the whole family got strep and we traveled for thanksgiving and I gave myself permission to let it go, which actually was fine.

I pretty much realized I am a project person, will always be a project person, and need to have at least one project in the works in order to feel good. I just need to keep managing the daily tasks so that I can create space and structure for the projects.

Back when I was a 20-something, success involved being creative with scarce resources but lots of time & energy. Being a 40-something is more about being selective. You have tons of opportunities and even some money, but you have a very finite amount of energy and you can't give it to everything. So you sometimes have to pass up good to go for great. You really only have time for the A+++ stuff.

Also -- can't wait for Lokheed's book. I read that projects post right before our first family trip to Disney World ever and it was awesome.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:28 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

I have been busting ass on revisions to what actually was my 2010 NaNo project, and I am confident I'll be done in time to herd everyone who didn't do NaNo to do MeFiNo in January-February. So, not directly a "win," but definitely a good month for productivity for me.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:53 AM on December 1, 2012

I finished! I gave myself permission to do fanfic this year. It's still a grueling pace, but I had fun. Sherlock and John are tired now and I am ready to get back to the writing I am supposed to be doing.
posted by tomboko at 9:11 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

I failed, utterly and completely. I have written only 10,313 words.


I still plan on keeping writing this novel that I'm working on. I've always wanted to write fiction and NaNoWriMo gave me the impetus to start doing that. It's kind of hard to set aside writing time when you have a job that lasts from 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM and you also want to do stuff on the weekend besides writing. I am pretty proud of what I've managed to write so far, but I was definitely hoping to have written more than 10,000 words by this point.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 9:36 AM on December 1, 2012

I lost, technically, since I hit 50,000 words at 12:01 AM on December 1st, after a mad dash attempt to finish the thing on time. I was behind by quite a bit - I wrote 11500 words on the 30th, on the tram to and from work, on my breaks sitting in the tearoom, and then the 3700 words I wrote in the one hour I had left after I got home.

But I managed to get up the courage to go to my first write-in this year, so I'm counting the whole thing as a victory anyway :)
posted by lwb at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I won, for the 9th year in a row!

It was another close one - I once again have a not-finished story, and this time I seriously resorted to just writing random scenes I'd thought about including someday, one right after another, regardless of chronology or continuity issues. I also realized there was one character whose name I was only getting right half the time, and that was irritating.

Next year I plan more than I did this year. Otherwise, it worked out OK. There is a non-zero chance I will attempt to rescue this novel and actually finish it.

(Some years I do amazingly well and some years are terrible and I never know what it'll be till about November 10th.)
posted by SMPA at 10:39 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

For those interested in camp nano and other timed challenges this nanowiki page lists many.
posted by marienbad at 11:10 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

I cratered hard about four days in, 3900 words total and never looked back. I like the idea of the arc of the cyberpunk silliness I came up with and might come back to it, but this month just wasn't interested in letting me make serious progress; between a couple of video games, work, Thanksgiving holiday stuff, and getting going on LARP Trek there just hasn't been a lot of the right kind of downtime + headspace to further the adventures of Dex Frorunner, Private Dick.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:11 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been writing a TON in the last year, so I girded the ol' loins and dug in for another attempt at beating my past record of 8k. For reference, that was the year I had a broken elbow and frequently typed one-handed.

I had scads of planning and character sheets and all that to make sure I beat myself at the usual mind games. I plotted out the whole arc so that if I got bored/stuck on one section, I could distract myself by jumping somewhere else (a technique which has worked well for me in my other writing).


And if anyone else tells me to "listen to your characters," they're losing a testicle. Even you, ladies.
posted by Madamina at 11:17 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Flaked out at 6776 words after finding that my idea - a modern retelling of the biblical story of Dinah - has already been done, and losing the motivation not to allow life to get in the way. So life got in the way. Bah.

Still better than the 18 words I managed last year :)
posted by motty at 12:01 PM on December 1, 2012

I got through the first week or so - topped out at just over 11,000 words, before I gave up for a combination of factors:

-exhaustion - my wife started working a new job in early Nov, and it's resulting in a pretty big shift in daily schedules; staying up late to write just wasn't working right then. Now that we're all adjusted to it, I can find time to write, but it was too much early in the month.
-lack of an outline - I had some ideas, and some characters, and knew how to start them off, but not how to bring them together and build towards the end I had in mind.
-lack of worldbuilding - in addition to the above, I was also world-building on the fly.

I learned a lot though, and have some definte ideas for my next go-round with this novel idea, so I still call it a success.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:18 PM on December 1, 2012

I won, but I still haven't finished my novel. However, I have signed up for a writing workshop in January, so...yay, I guess?
posted by pxe2000 at 12:35 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Been a few years since I last had a go, but I knew this November was going to be hectic so didn't think I could attempt it this year. I did bash out 777 consecutive words while I thought about it though. Paltry, but one more nugget for the underdeveloped short stories folder than I would otherwise have!
posted by comealongpole at 12:47 PM on December 1, 2012

50,261, my third victory in six attempts!

And a serious thank you to my NaNo MeFi buddies who kept me (ladygypsy over there) cheered up and motivated with the great messages!
posted by kimberussell at 2:04 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

I wrote 0 words--well, I did the synopsis thingy when I signed up. I signed up in support of a friend. I write a lot at work, and realized I just don't want to do it a home even if it would be different. My friend wrote about 10,000 words and I feel bad for not supporting her more. Now my idea is floating in the ether and perhaps someone else will be struck with it and will bring it to fruition (I'm not saying someone would rip me off, it just seems that certain ideas pop up in multiple locations at the same time...).
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:50 PM on December 1, 2012

I lost and lost bad. I accidentally started living out the plot to my novel. This year's was more chick lit than sci fi so that...worked?
posted by RainyJay at 9:04 PM on December 1, 2012

Well, I ended up turning my one-woman-show idea into a memoir. Which ran out of steam at 40K, but I fudged enough amounts of bullshit to finish out before the end of the month. I'm not sure what to do with it afterwards. Like all my writing, it starts out good and starts to rot at about 10k, and....*shrug* I dunno. At least I finished.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:34 PM on December 1, 2012

I did it! 50,025. :-)
posted by danb at 10:24 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

I seriously forgot all about Nanowrimo. I blame it on my new meds and brain fog. How could I have forgotten? Blah.
posted by patheral at 7:35 AM on December 2, 2012

51432, which completely amazed me. This was my third try and the only one in which I've written over 1000 words.

It was complete stream of consciousness rubbish. I was very thankful no one's eyes started bleeding after reading the extract I brought along to my region's Thank-God-It's-Over party.

I didn't finish the story and I'm even slightly tempted to do a rebel run one time to do so.
posted by Erberus at 8:02 AM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't have won this year except that on the last day I redefined the terms of winning.
posted by maurice at 10:40 AM on December 2, 2012

I wrote about 32k exploring a concept that I've been rolling over in my mind. It ended up being a bunch of dialogue around my concept, rather than a plot, and I stopped last week knowing I was never going to finish. I'm satisfied with my experience, however, because it has given me a couple of gifts:

1) I now know that I need to work on my ability to explore a concept via dramatic action rather than talking. My scene outline had a lot of "X tells Y that Z is happening." rather than "Z happens and this is a big problem for X because of reasons that set up the next plot point." So I know what I need to work on.
2) I now am in a habit of writing almost every day, such that I feel like I _need_ to write if I go more than a day without. So I'm applying that habit to the long list of short stories that are right now in the "someday I should write a story about" file.

It has been incredibly beneficial for me and I'm really glad I did it. I'm actually looking for ways to stay accountable to other folks who are writing during the rest of the year, and I would write again.
posted by gauche at 11:23 AM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I now know that I need to work on my ability to explore a concept via dramatic action rather than talking. My scene outline had a lot of "X tells Y that Z is happening." rather than "Z happens and this is a big problem for X because of reasons that set up the next plot point." So I know what I need to work on.

This is totally how I write first drafts, in my not-terribly-extensive experience. In the second draft, I can read that scene and then lay out the actual events that need to happen and delete the conversation about it entirely. Apparently the plotting part of my subconscious just decides to hijack my characters' voices to tell me what to do instead of informing me directly.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:30 AM on December 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

Thanks restless_nomad, that has made me feel a whole heap better!
posted by marienbad at 12:01 PM on December 2, 2012

I now am in a habit of writing almost every day, such that I feel like I _need_ to write if I go more than a day without.

It's only been two days, but this has been the greatest benefit for me as well.
posted by danb at 2:13 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Finished on the 25th, with just over 51K words. I planned for off days, and set a daily target of 2K words to build in a safe buffer. Then I got lucky.

One agreement that kept it easy was "no backspacing more two words worth" while typing, and then only doing the lightest of editing after a days writing was done.

I also ignored most recommendations, and didn't let anyone know that I was doing NaNoWriMo until I'd turned in my draft. Radio silence on social networks. No group writing, no parties, just a solitary effort. And then, having earned the badge, I (figuratively) burned the manuscript. This was a "can I do it?" exercise. Next time might be "is it worth showing to other people?"

I'm glad that I finally did NaNoWriMo, but, oddly, it wasn't as satisfying as I'd expected.
posted by dws at 2:17 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you need help remembering next year, I recommend you:
  • Subscribe to the NaNoWriMo, Fake NaNoWriMo Tips, and NaNo Word Sprints Twitter accounts (they post a LOT during the month, and periodically the rest of the year)
  • Track the #NaNoWriMo tags on whatever social media you use (on Tumblr this is extra helpful, because that tag says "10" ALL THE TIME during the month)
  • Join a busy/large region, such as Los Angeles, and set your account to get all the ML notices emailed to you.
This is not recommended if you need help actually concentrating on getting stuff done and find all these notices distracting - I had to stop tracking the #NaNoWriMo tags in order to get my novel done, and only check them after I'd finished my word count goal for a day. Especially after people started saying that they'd won, because I basically reply to every single person that does that. Luckily, Tumblr doesn't have a favoriting limit. Or maybe not luckily. Hmmm.
posted by SMPA at 2:52 PM on December 2, 2012

Lokheed! Excited to see your results-I've loved the story of your son. Were you guys featured on the disboards, too?
posted by purenitrous at 4:32 PM on December 2, 2012

purenitrous - yes, the blog posts were linked on the disboards. They were actually the number one driver of page views to my blog back in June. I will definitely make an announcement there when the book is available for purchase.
posted by Lokheed at 5:57 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yesterday after putting mine on my Kindle to read sometime later, I ended up reading it all day. And I'm really really happy with how it came out. One or two continuity goofs, minor and easy to fix; one or two places where I slipped into the wrong tense (this is what happens when one character out of three insists on being narrated in a different tense from the others). But for a first draft? Written at speed? I am so pleased with myself!

I mean, it's fanfic so I can't sell it or put my name on it or link to it in serial form or anything, but fanfic is about the love. Especially mine. Also, drugs and sex.

This was my 10th year at NaNo - I've failed at least twice, but I think it's such an amazing idea and one of those things you can point to when gushing about how cool the internet can be.

It shows people they can write. It also shows them that writing is hard and keeping it up is hard and yet that it can be done.

Oh! One more thing I have learned from NaNo: the stories I've done best with - that were most fun for me and came out the best - have been the ones I came up with very quickly right before it was time to start. Not the ideas I'd been percolating for a long time. This time I had an idea set to go and THEN found out that a writer I like had done it already (actually hers was better than what I would have done with it). So I came up with a new idea that turned out so much better for me.
posted by tomboko at 3:29 AM on December 3, 2012

I finished my 50k words, but not the story. Looking at where the 50,000th word is, I see it is in the middle of a thrilling description of a cheese sandwich.

I'd like to finish the story and even revise to the point of tossing it up on teh kindles. I've found I actually like the characters (unlike a previous year when I ended up transforming the character into someone else due to witches or something because I disliked him) and the challenge of writing from a female protagonist's POV in a genre that's not one I'd big on (Twilight) has kept things fresh for me.

Without the driving need to produce words, though, I'm in a fish-or-cut-bait borderland. I might do the notecard thing at some point just to get the story beats hammered out. There are threads I introduced early on that I can't seem to get back to and I think the pacing is a bit rushed.

Urf. Shouldn't get down on it. Onwards! Upwards!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:17 AM on December 3, 2012

Unlike last year, where I started four days late and still won, I attempted pantsing from a vague concept. I wrote just shy of 8k words in the first few days, then ran out of time, plot, and motivation. A character got to a region where she would learn to use magic through a series of challenges and I was at an utter loss for challenge ideas.

Unlike last year, I have purchased a hundred-year-old house and adopted a dog, and between the two didn't have any time/energy left over for the novel. Hopefully in January!
posted by bookdragoness at 1:00 PM on December 3, 2012

I didn't try NaNoWrimo this year because work was much busier than normal. I tried two other times and didn't win either time. Last was my most successful though, even if I didn't finish. I ended up getting stuck half-way through because I started finding some flaws in my original idea. I couldn't figure out how to work around them or ignore them and the word count stopped going up. I'll give it a shot again because I still like the idea I had and I think I might have figured out a way around the flaws I was experiencing.
posted by Green With You at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2012

Gratuitous self-link. (Warning: contains dragons.) I had more fun writing this than anything else I've ever done with my computer; I mean, it ain't literary, but I've never cackled like an insane wizard so much in my life.
posted by bwerdmuller at 5:06 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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