Writing: NaNoWriMo, The End

Or is it?!

No, it is. It is December 1st right now, which means NaNo 2011 is over. Perhaps you hit 50,000 words or more than that or even less. But wherever you might have ended up on your personal count, congratulations! Carving out time for an undertaking like NaNo is a challenge in and of its self. Getting an actual novel out of it is yet another one.

Myself, I won for the second time, crossing the finish line at 50 and change a couple of hours before Wednesday evening’s deadline. I consider that a huge improvement over last year, when I pulled up several hundred words short during site verification and somehow pulled 500 words out of the ether in the last 15 minutes. Seriously, 500 words in 15 minutes. I don’t even think they were the worst 500 words I wrote that year.

Despite hitting the NaNo mark, I didn’t complete my personal goal of writing every day. Like everyone else in the world, my life is a whirlwind of obligations. I quickly found that there were two days each week where I just couldn’t carve time out to write at all, and the temptation to let that inertia stand sometimes dragged into a third or fourth day. So I have that to work on. As well as the hot mess of my novel, which I remain pretty happy with in theory and I’ll probably cringe over extensively when I sit down to start revisions. But that’s what December is for, right?

So on this, the last day of our NaNoing together, I want to congratulate everyone who has been participating in the challenge this year ““ Liza, QoB, Freckle, Amanda, Doormouse, Deuteragonist, Meghan, xfafafabulous, MJ, Lauren, sequined, Annie, Lisa, Miss Worded, Michelle, and Kitty, as well as anyone else who I missed (with my apologies, of course).

As always, I want to hear from everyone else. How did the NaNo experience end up for you?

Bonus Tracks: Actual, tangible novels that began life as a NaNoWriMo project.

Ok, what I really wanted to do here was somehow rig up one of those reflective Time Magazine covers, you know, where the Person of the Year is YOU! Except, it would be, like, the book cover that hasn’t been designed yet for the NaNo you might hope to get published. But that doesn’t work over the Internet, for many obvious reasons. So I’ll leave these last three novels here, along with my best wishes for all you aspiring writers.

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

5 replies on “Writing: NaNoWriMo, The End”

Thank you, thank you. I finished with 50016 words on the 29th and not touching that thing (aka the ‘novel’) again any time soon.

In my experience last year (and my first time) went much easier. And I’ve decided to never write in Dutch again, especially not such long stories. The language doesn’t fit me when it comes to fiction.

I finished on the 29th. I decided it was distracting me from my real work and I needed to bust it out and be done, so I did! It’s not even worth revising, but it was fun and the idea I had turned out to be more interesting in some ways than I expected. In other ways it was less interesting–the parts I built in to the plot thinking they’d be fun diversions turned out to be the parts I skipped over–but that’s ok too! It was my 4th time finishing (I didn’t do it last year, so not consecutive though).

Aw, thank you! It was a great help to have these weekly check-ins too, helped keep me motivated.

I hit just over 50,000 on the 29th, and then patted myself on the back:) It was my first year, so I’m pretty proud of myself, and I have a goood chunk of work for a writing course I’m starting in January. I was surprised by how much fun it was, and how disparate things about my ideas seemed to make sense and link up even though I hadn’t planned them too.

Next thing is to revise what I’ve written and plan where to go with the story afterwards, along with the writing class.

Yay! I finished too, for the third year in a row. My next project is revising my 2010 NaNo. :)

Like you, I didn’t write every day. I wrote most days, but there were some where – like you said – life got in the way. I had a new challenge with this year’s NaNo: in 2009 and 2010, I wasn’t writing professionally, and this year I have two steady gigs in addition to my full-time job (which also involves writing). Some days, what I was getting paid to write had to take priority and I just didn’t have any words or energy left.

But I hit 50k! I think my final count is around 56k, though I validated before I hit that number because I was afraid I was going to run out of time.

It feels good, though. My first draft is awesome in some places, awful in others. But it’s a start. And really, that’s the whole point of NaNo: to get started.

Congratulations on winning!


And thanks so much everyone who gave me advice about surviving Thanksgiving. I didn’t write anything Thursday or Friday, but I ended up hitting 50k on Sunday anyway.

You’re so right that getting an actual novel out is a whole new challenge. I still have a ton of work to do. But I think sometime in Week 1 I’d already written more words than I’d ever written for any one project before, so I’m proud of that at least. And I am determined to keep carving out time to write regularly.

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