NaNoWriMo 2012 — The Third Check In

 “Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.” – Meg Cabot

NaNoWriMo Shield: Badge with a coffee cup, laptop, pens, and papers, topped with a horned "Viking" helmetSo here we are at our third accountability check in. According to my regular old, normal world calender, that means we have a full two weeks left of NaNo’ing in front of us, and two weeks behind. We are, my friends, stuck in the middle (with you). According to my nerdy NaNoWriMo calender-slash-desktop background-guilt-machine by the end of tonight we should have passed 26,672 words.

Yes, I can hear your mournful chuckling.

I’m not going to be trite and say this is the hard part. Unless you are a very lucky, very driven, or very inspired individual, the whole process is the hard part. Finding time to sit down and work on your art. Finding the words that match the ideas in your head. Giving yourself the permission to put those words on screen or on paper and allow yourself the flexibility of imperfectness. To keep from staring at that one paragraph you’ve cranked out and refrain from rewriting it over and over while your word count hovers at the same number. I’m here to acknowledge that it’s hard. And that being hard isn’t the end of the world.

Mid-month is when a lot of people start dropping out of the competition. They feel like they’re impossibly behind or they never properly got started, or, very commonly, they suddenly hate their idea, hate their novel, and want to light the whole thing up in a cleansing fire. You are not alone in that feeling, though try not to act on the latter impulse.

I encourage you to keep going. No one is grading you on this. No one will write a note in your permanent record if you draw up short at the end of the month. The purpose is the process. Allow yourself this one measly month with your imagination. Give yourself permission to indulge in it and enjoy it. Write. Make it to the end of the month writing. Even if you don’t get your 50,000 words, you’ll still be a winner.

My personal check in: I remain about 2 days behind schedule but I was thrilled to have two really solid days of high word count which happened to correspond to two days of solid writerly-flow. Most other days I feel like I’m carving out words with a hammer and a nail on a really obstinate rock. But I’m plugging away at it.

How are you guys doing?

Bonus Tracks: Real, honest to goodness, published novels that began as NaNos

How to Seduce an Angel in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

cover of How To Seduce an Angel in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

No Room for Dessert  by Hallie Durand

cover of No Room for Dessert by Hallie Durand

Triptych by J.M. Frey

Cover of Triptych by J.M. Frey

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.

19 replies on “NaNoWriMo 2012 — The Third Check In”

I’ve just over 10,000 words to go, and I’m determined to finish this thing before Thanksgiving. I have to, I’ll be cooking all day. And frankly, I’m sick of my story and just want it to be over, and at the same time, I’m resisting the urge to go back and edit. I edit as I write — and that has always worked for me. My MC seems to be channeling Rayanne Graff (and he’s a dude — and I don’t think there’s an archetype for that). I badly want to de-manic pixify this guy now, but I’m following the rules this year, dammit.

Ladies, I am in idiot. I am a chump of the highest order.

I just wrote the fastest 1,500 words of this year so far (now only 3,783 words behind, yay!) because I realised I don’t have to do all the punctuation right now. I let my love of grammar blind me to productivity.

I am a chump.

I’m definitely a few days behind myself. I wrapped up writing last night around midnight, so I don’t remember my exact word count, but I think it was around 19k. I’m not despairing yet. According to the nano stats, I can finish if I write ~2k/day which is manageable.

I’m trying to decide if I want to go to my region’s halfway party write in tomorrow. I’ve never gone to any nano write ins, but it sounds fun! I’m just worried that I’ll be too distracted by everyone else there that I won’t be able to write much. Has anyone else done community events during nano before? Do you recommend it?

I’ve hosted several events, but I have never gone to other regional events. My region is huge, getting to them is a pain.

I like them. I find that I’m a bit more inspired when I see other people typing, because they look busy, so I want to be busy. And if you hit a stopping place, they’re usually good about helping you get over the hump.

31.031 baby!

I’m so surprised that –even though starting becomes a bit harder– I still enjoy my story and writing it. And my new way of working is quite the success (she said after two days) and people like the bread crumbs I post which feels so good.

So I guess I’m enjoying this?

Drats, PMag ate my reply again.

Basically, every page of an article or community comment page I want to read, I have to write 150 words first, no matter how long it takes. Some times they come hard, but more and more often they grow into 200 – 250. And I visit enough communities to get through 2000 words in less than two hours. It’s like a great combination of procrastination and motivation. Stick carrot carrot.

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