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NaNoWriMo 2019: My Personal Experience – Part One

TIme and Gears

As I am writing this, I am feeling completely burned out.

My hair is a mess (is that another silver strand sprouting up?!), my eyes are puffy and twitchy, dark circles nestle beneath and I am desperately trying to hold back a yawn…aaaaand the yawn wins out.

I managed to force out 400 words this morning, in between guzzling coffee and staring bleary-eyed at the glaring screen of my laptop (Note to self: Next NaNoWriMo you need to invest in some “Anti-Blue Light” eyewear). My tail bone hurts from sitting so much, my thumbs ache and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I, at times, regretted signing-up for this. However, the truth is NaNoWriMo is probably one of the best things to happen to the writer within me.

Years past, I had chugged out a lot of words, my longest piece a maximum of 200k+, but many creative pieces falling short of the finish line. One particular book, a first in a seven plus book series, I tried rewriting more than twice, only to choke-out when nearing the end, meandering somewhere in the middle. Now, I am currently trying to finish my fantasy fiction titled: Dark Retribution, a dark fantasy with some postcolonial theory at its heart.

But, if you have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) before, then you know the beauty of the challenge. For anyone who doesn’t know NaNoWriMo, here’s the gist of it:

NaNoWriMo (detail)

In the month of November, starting on the 1st and ending on the 30th, writers try to write a total of 50,000 words.

Meaning every day, you would need to write at least 1.666.666666666667 (okay, okay, that’s absolutely ridiculous, round that eye-sore up to 1,667) words a day in order to achieve the golden 50k words to win. Seems pretty easy, right? Especially if you already have a healthy habit of magicking-out words and if you had outlined your draft. However, if you’re a Pantser (or George R. R. Martin’s Gardener) you might have a rough time, or you might not.

Ultimately, the beauty of NaNoWriMo is not entirely based on achieving that 50k word goal, but to get yourself into the habit of writing daily and setting your “editing shadow” aside. Personally, I struggled to silence my “inner-editor” in the past, but having the pressure of pumping-out 50k words in a month, it really helped on putting my inner-editor into a corner and scream, “SHUT UP! I am going to write, damnit!” And writing writing writing writing writing till you reach that magic number every day. It doesn’t matter if what you had written sounds concrete, or poetic, what matters is you just sit your butt down in that chair and write. No ands, ifs, or buts.


As of writing this, we’re already halfway through NaNoWriMo and I have already struggled with my fair-share of burn-outs at the keyboard. On the first day, I began writing right at 12 in the morning, easily breezing through the 1,667-word count and writing enough to give me a two-day breather by the end of the first week. So far, I have nicely shifted into my daily routine of writing: waking-up, grabbing a cup of joe, opening my word document titled “The_Cave_Manuscript” and telling myself the magic words: Just write one sentence.

Before long, one sentence would lead to another, and another and another. Before long, my fingers would be flying across the keyboard, and I would be ignoring the mess left behind. (In other words: A series of bleeding out across the page and trying to avoid mopping it up with edits). I would grumble a little, open and close my browser, try to reason I had other obligations like, you know, essays or a blog post that needed writing. But soon enough the fact would arise that I needed to stop making excuses and I just needed to write.

Camp NaNoWriMo

I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is held in both April and July. Similar in nature, but less strenuous due to being able to set your own word goal, it really helped to prepare me mentally for NaNoWriMo. By getting me into the habit of trying to write daily, I was able to breeze past my goal of 30k words by writing 45,780. Also, I discovered I was a plotter, creating an extensive outline of my plot, along with detailed chapters really helped me avoid the debilitating writer’s block (I got the idea from Brandon Sanderson by creating a list of headings in Microsoft Word). I continued the 45,780-word count from Camp and am now at a total of 76k+, currently 30K+ words towards the 50k word total. More than halfway through NaNoWriMo, so I am pretty proud of my progress thus far.

Granted, there did come a point where I stalled for three days, unable to sit myself down and meet my daily word count of 1,667 words. Even now, it is four in the afternoon, and I still haven’t written beyond a 400ish word count. Although, there is a solution to getting over that struggle: The Word Crawl. The Word Crawl/This Ends Soon Crawl is where you try to write a total of 10k words in about 5 hours’ time.

I had participated in my very first Word Crawl on the 12th, starting at 12:10 and ending at about 5:20, where I managed to write 8k+ words. So, if you find yourself struggling in remaining motivated to meet the daily word goal, join a Word Crawl Challenge on Discord. It is an awesome way to pump-out a crazy amount of words and gets you into the mindset of writing your brain out. Plus, its competitive in that you keep track of how many words you and your fellow writer’s spew out, where a winner is declared in the end and receives a certificate. Ultimately, what I learned from participating in a Word Crawl was, no matter what, the world fades and you just voraciously write. Anything. Doesn’t matter if it is Shakespearean genius, or if it’s wooden, ugly, or makes no sense in the slightest to the rest of your story.

So, halfway through NaNoWriMo and I was able to (at least for today) able to stay on track for winning NaNoWriMo 2019. Again, it is halfway through the month, so anything could happen. I do have finals coming up, work and making sure I don’t neglect my fiancé and cats. This is my Part One of my NaNoWriMo experience, so we’ll see if I can manage to meet the rigorous word goal of 50k words. Trying to congeal some postcolonial theories into my manuscript (don’t even get me started on Homi Bhabha), and other bits of info I had stored into my frazzled hard drive from my English Literature classes, while trying to bleed-out my overall vision into a word document.

Time & Gears Winner

Do I feel what I have written thus meets that vision? I am too afraid to ask at the moment, or glance back in fear of awakening the harsh editor within me. I just keep telling myself the magic words: Just write one sentence. Before long, I hope to have my first completed manuscript, a shining fantasy fiction! Wish me luck, I am counting on making-it out on the other side with Part Two, so stay-tuned!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2019? If so, how’s it going? And, if not, why did you decide on not participating? Comment below!



  1. Avatar Yora says:

    Day 17: I finally found a plot I want to write about.

  2. […] won both by reaching the goal of 30k and 50k words from both projects (you can read my experience here and […]

  3. […] be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year (psst, read my writing experience in last years NaNo here and […]

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