Wednesday, 2 November 2022

IWSG November 2022

Time for another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share doubts and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today I'm honoured to co-host alongside Deidre KnightDouglas Thomas Greening, and Diane Burton


Today's optional question is: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I knew I'd done NaNo at least once and I thought I'd won but the exact details and dates escaped me. So, I pulled up my NaNo dashboard and it turns out I took part three years in a row from 2012 to 2014. The first year saw the beginning of my Black & White trilogy with the first draft of book 1. I finished at 34,020 words. Apparently, my progress was sporadic and I didn't write every day, but I was surprised at some of the daily wordcounts I did turn in. 4000 words in a day feels out of my grasp these days! Moving on to 2013. Well, this was a difficult year as we lost Andrew on November 9th and I stopped any writing for several months after that. Between November 1st and 8th I racked up 13,374 words of a story that I remember practically nothing about. I don't think I have it saved any more anywhere, and I doubt I would ever revisit it even if I did, but the dashboard tells me the working title was Truth Hurts. That's not triggering anything for me. To 2014. I think that year really represented my push back towards a daily writing habit. My project was part 2 of my trilogy and I remember being quite determined. Indeed, I won that year with 50,075 words done. Since then, I haven't really felt an urge to take part again, maybe because I already "completed" it and I'm quite happy working at my own pace. I wouldn't rule it out though. I think NaNo can be good if you want to motivate yourself but it's probably best to keep up a steady routine year round rather than a burst of frenetic activity in a particular month. And the fact the first two parts of my series were started in 2012 and 2014 but published in 2017 and 2019 indicates they still needed quite a long gestation process because NaNo is notorious for producing very raw material. It's good for instilling a daily writing habit but the trick is to keep that up the rest of the time. I'm also quite staggered that, having just published the last part of the trilogy, it ended up being a ten-year process from beginning to end!

What about you? Done NaNoWriMo before? Are you taking part this year? Check out others' experiences and thoughts at the IWSG list here.

49 comments:

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Nick. That sounds a lot like me. I participated only once. Your advice about the steady pace and writing makes all the sense.
-Sonia

T. Powell Coltrin said...

It's great that you tried. Writing that much each day is a challenge especially when I had a day job.

Teresa

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Like you, I've won once and that was good enough.
Thanks for co-hosting today!

Liza said...

I've never done NaNo. Sticking to my own schedule works for me. My first drafts are such disasters, I can't imagine how bad they'd be if I tried to rush to get one done. I remember you writing about Andrew. Sending up prayers as you approach his anniversary.

Leigh Caron said...

I liked your thoughts about NaNo. I participated one year and wrote 30,000 words, but what I wrote was nothing I was proud of so I haven't participated since. I write 'something' every day so I don't need the pressure of NaNo to write.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've never done NaNo. I like your approach of daily writing and keeping a steady pace works better for me.

Nancy Gideon said...

What you said, Nick! Agree across the board. I think of NaNo as a chance to mind meld with the power of the group, to draw of the group's energy rather than as a method of creating usable material. I don't enjoy working within boundaries but sprints have produced some darn good material in the past.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
I can identify with what you're saying. Finding your own rhythm is the best thing that you can do as an author. I do write in NaNo but not every year. I have learned how to use it for my purpose.

Congratulations on your new release and all the best with the marketing.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Pat Garcia said...

Hi again,
I forgot to say, thank you for co-hosting this month.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Deniz Bevan said...

I agree, it's best to use NaNo for motivation, then try to keep up a regular pace throughout the year. I'm trying to get better at editing my NaNostories after the fact and not leaving them to lie around, ha ha!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'll just keep moving forward with my unsteady routine. LOL

Loni Townsend said...

Yeah, life doesn't allow for regular 1700 word days, but consistency does help. I've managed about 3K a month this year. Might not be NaNo levels, but it'll get me where I want to go eventually.

Debs Carey said...

I have written zero fiction for the best part of this year and feel that part of my brain had begun to shrivel up due to lack of use. It kicked back in again yesterday while I was out driving, so I need to make time for it in my overloaded diary. But the joy I felt when it happened, means I will do so. But NaNo - no, too much for now.

@DebsDespatches posting today from Fiction Can Be Fun

Meka James said...

Congrats on winning it. I've tried it twice and noped out early both times. Working like that doesn't fit my writing process.

Bish Denham said...

Yes, NaNo is good for producing very raw material, which is one of the reasons I'm not all that thrilled with doing it. Revising and editing are not things I enjoy doing, so I like to work more slowly and produce something that isn't going to require the slash and burn editing those 2 NaNo novels of mine will need.

H. R. Sinclair said...

I like that they retain the records so you can see what ya did!

J.Q. Rose said...

Congrats on your winning the challenge! And for developing your series with the work you accomplished during Nano. Thank you for co-hosting this month.

kjmckendry said...

I have participated but never won. I agree with you that it helps to get a writing habit but writing at my own pace is what works best for me. It is incredible how long the actual process of getting a polished final piece out takes!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Nick, thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month. I have never done NaNo. Happy Thanksgiving.

Miffie Seideman said...

Hi Nick! I think it's interesting that you didn't remember how many times you had tried NaNo, because that entire month was a blur when I did it. I agree the manuscripts created in that flurry of writing need a lot of love and editing afterwards. Good luck with your writing!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

You are correct, Nick. If writers require motivation, NaNo is a great way to get it. And good for you to have these records to see how you did.

Thanks so much for co-hosting this month's question. All the luck with your new release.

Charity Bradford said...

Good for you for making Nano what you needed it to be. I did really great for a couple of years, but the last five or six have been "starters." Meaning I start Nano and then forget to log in and report my writing. But, the writing is happening year-round now, so I don't need a special month as badly as I used to.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Nick!

Sounds like your NaNo experiences were definitely worthwhile. Best wishes on your latest release, and thanks for co-hosting!

cleemckenzie said...

How great that you kept your records, Nick! Glad NANO served you well.

Melissa said...

Nope. Maybe when I retire.
Thanks for co-hosting!

Tyrean Martinson said...

When I stress about finishing something particular for NaNo, I don't usually finish or like it. When I allow myself to "up" my word count goals for the month and write a potluck of work, I'm happy and usually finish. So, I'm back at it this year.

Happy Writing, Nick!

Arlee Bird said...

It's funny that your Nano memories are hazy, but I can understand. I'm surprised that I was able to apply myself enough to finish two years of Nano in 2010 & 2011. I guess I was much more focused on writing back then. I know I used to post a lot more on my blogs in my early years of blogging. In some ways I guess the novelty wore off and I just had other things to draw my attention.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month's hop, Nick.

Liz A. said...

It sounds like 2013's book needs to stay buried. But it might have been useful to you at the time.

Kristina Kelly said...

I know my creative (and none-creative) energy ebbs and flows so I try to follow my own stream and take advantage of my personal energy spikes all year vs trying to force myself to be productive solid for one month. NaNoWriMo is certainly not for me!

Samantha Bryant said...

I've participated a few times. One of the results is now a trad-published novel, and I have hopes for some of the others! @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

talklady said...

Thanks for co-hosting and sharing your NaNo experience.

I participated one, wrote about 18,000 words and the material was raw and not cohesive. However, I was able to carve several short stories from the crap, so it wasn't a lost month... but I remain a NaNoSkipIt!

Patricia JL said...

NaNo isn't my thing for writing. It just doesn't motivate me. I'll leave it to others and figure out my own way.

Sandra Cox said...

Kudos on you. I don't think I've ever written 4K in a day.

Sandra Cox said...

Kudos to you. I don't think I've ever written 4K in a day.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for co-hosting today, Nick! And thanks for your reflections on NaNo too! The steady routine throughout the year is definitely the way to go.

Jennifer Lane said...

Ten years to complete a trilogy sounds about right! Congratulations on winning--third time was a charm. I hope you're pleased with Reckoning's release.

Olga Godim said...

Great insights, Nick.
Thanks for co-hosting this month.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

You have a point about the steady pace, but I find that I do best when drafting a novel if I get it out as quickly as possible. I'm better at continuity that way!

The real steady pace I have been working on for the last year + is at least 3 mornings a week, 9-noon. I'm part of an Accountability group of (mostly) writers, and that really helps. NaNo pushes me to an unsustainable pace, but I can back off when I have a draft and return to editing and short stories for a while.

Denise Covey said...

It's good that you have gained some benefit from NaNo. I write every day regardless but I like to edit on the hop.

Douglas Thomas Greening said...

My day job and my fiction writing goals are in constant conflict. I have yet to be able to master switching gears between the fiction required for business cases and the fiction to entertain. And I'm not quite sure about that group write/energy dynamic. When I work on my novel, I really don't want to see, hear and interact with anyone else.

Appreciate so much being able to share the co-host spotlight with you this month, Nick. Thanks for co-hosting.

Always honored when you visit and post on my blog.

Jean Davis said...

NaNo is not for all. I use it to reset my daily writing routine as that tends to get lazy as the year progresses. Also, my region is very active so each year is like a big reunion with fun writer folks.

Good luck with your writing no matter when you do it. :)

Damyanti Biswas said...

With my schedule NaNo seems like a far-fetched idea :( I would love to try it some other time. A steady pace and writing it is! Thank you for co-hosting! :)

Kate Larkindale said...

NaNo isn't for everyone. Best you find what works for you and stick to it.

Jemima Pett said...

Ten years for a trilogy - I can accept that. Well done. And especially when you've had a loss in the middle. You do'nt want to write anything but your grief at that time.

Thanks for co-hosting today (and apologies to the other co-hosts I've visited and forgotten to thank!)

Jemima

Shannon Lawrence said...

Good point about working on writing consistently throughout the year. Ten years may seem like a lot of time for a trilogy these days, but I think classically it wasn't out of the ordinary (nor is it now unless you're comparing it to those who do rapid release.)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - the main thing is to write ... however long it takes - well done on finishing and now recovering your thoughts - life has been chequered for you and the family ... all the best as new projects come your way - cheers Hilary

J Lenni Dorner said...

It's something to say you tried it. A ten-year writing journey is nothing to sneeze at, either.

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of." —Joss Whedon

J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

"...good if you want to motivate yourself but it's probably best to keep up a steady routine year round rather than a burst of frenetic activity in a particular month." While I love NaNo as a great motivator, I totally agree with your statement above. I wish I was more of a steady writer, but lately everything has been all over the place.