NaNoWriMo writers, are you still hanging in there? Anyone starting to feel insane yet? Just me?

For NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) participants, we’re at the halfway point of November, where if your book isn’t already at 25,000 words, you’ve got some catching up to do…(that would be me). This is my first year, and I understand that the point is quantity, not quality, the problem is, you have to have at least something written. I waffle between days of “this is pretty good, I like where this is headed,” to “I can’t put one thought together in my brain, let alone string a sentence together.”

So far my novel looks something like this:

Something happens, then some other things happen, people talk about it, think a lot about things, they have feelings…blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…a bunch of crappy ideas I wouldn’t show to another human being if my life depended on it….blah blah blah blah blah blah…this paragraph isn’t completely horrible…what were you thinking…blah blah blah again…this entire chapter looks like you wrote it by banging your head against your keyboard for a few hours….more blah blah blah that I’ll most likely cut…blah blah blah some more…

If I’m crazy lucky, I’ll have something at the end of this that I could potentially work with, maybe edit for the rest of my life, and possibly do something with just before I die (but most likely it’ll be after I die and my daughter will come across it as she’s going through my things and giving away my cats). As it stands right now, this will be approximately 60-80 hours of my life I’ll never get back, and will likely have spurred on an incurable and constant feeling of being an utter failure.

For those of you not doing NaNoWriMo, or who aren’t writers, what types of things do you tackle that at some point you wonder whether or not you’re entirely insane? And for those who are doing NaNoWriMo, how are you hanging in there?

7 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo writers, are you still hanging in there? Anyone starting to feel insane yet? Just me?

  1. Hi Jessica. This is my 2nd NanoWriMo. I’m writing book 3 of a fantasy series called Tales of Aarkan Zea Book 3: Secret of the Ancients. I’m over the 38k word mark. Getting there. I didn’t have as much time to prepare my outline as I wanted, so I’m just winging it. I think some of the story has taken a few turns for the better because of it, but I do start to feel lost until I just start writing. I thought I would have more time this year because I started a freelance writing business and I now work from home. I was gone 11 hrs per day before. I spend so much time writing for business that I don’t even have enough time to blog. I run a writing blog called FantasyWritersWorkshop that I had to hit pause for NaNoWriMo just to have time for my book. Parts of my book I’ll probably toss later, but I’m starting to like the direction that some of the characters went in without my help 🙂 Also, I had a major character to create himself for me, which added a lot to the story. I like it when characters create themselves :0)


    1. Hi Randy! You are a busy guy! I’m glad to hear you’re so far on Nano, not too much further to go in this final push. You’re doing better than I am, I’m at just over 32,000 words, so I have a lot of catching up to do this week. This is my first time, and I did prep ahead with a detailed outline, yet, I still derailed and changed quite a bit. I, too, also love how the characters come to life themselves, and that the story starts to tell itself. That’s my favorite part about writing; that the writer is just as surprised as the reader is about where the story takes you. Good luck for the rest of the week!

      1. Hi Jessica. How did you do? I finished with just over 50k words. It went as (loosely) planned. When I finally get to my second draft I will add a lot more to the last chapter. Other than that I was happy with how it turned out. I think I try plan my next one a little better than I did this one. I’ve done both – detailed and not so detailed. Detailed is easier for me to deal with because I don’t have to think too much during November. I think I will try something in between – plan better than I did this time but not too detailed to leave it open and give the characters some breathing room. I really need to get working on the 2nd draft of book 1. And then there are those novellas that go between the books…

        1. I finished as well with just over 50,000 words. I’m setting the draft aside for now so that I can take a break from it. I think that I’ll be less attached to it come January, and can more objectively make the deep cuts/revisions/changes it’ll need.

  2. It’s my first time doing NaNoWriMo as well and I often feel like what I’m writing is utter nonsense, but I just keep writing anyway. Still, I constantly re-read paragraphs or edit scenes the next day, because I can’t stand how some of it turned out. Also, it seems I have a thing for dialogue, which tends to not really move the plot along at all. Writing has had it’s ups and downs, but just the thought of finally being able to finish a writing project, no matter the actual quality of the story, keeps me going.
    Happy writing! Stay in there!

    1. I feel exactly the same! I have too many thoughts and feelings, but not enough “action”, and I struggle because my protagonist is on an emotionally strengthening hero’s journey, so I’m not entirely sure how to add in enough “then this happened, and then this, and then OMG, and then the big twist you didn’t see coming…”. I think I’m starting to get there, but I agree with you that the fact that we’ll just finish, especially since it’s our first time, is great. Best of luck to you, I’d love to hear more about it when you’re done!

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