Nanowrimo — Knock out 50K words in November’s 30 days!

It seems like such a cool challenge:  write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month.  That’s almost 1700 words a day.  Not bad if you’re Dean Wesley Smith, who routinely writes a bunch of words every day.  But for me, it isn’t going to happen.  I could probably knock out a short story or two, but no way am I going to get 50K words written in a month.  Not the way I write.

I get a story idea, and I plow into it.  I have a dozen stories started on my USB drive that I carry around between office and home, and some of them will never get finished because they won’t go anywhere.  (And some just flow right out like they were telling themselves.)  A lot of times I loose focus on a story, and don’t know where to go with it.  So I do one of two things.  I either go back to the beginning, rereading and rewriting as I go, or I move on to another story.  Either way, I’m taking away from that 1700 word goal.

Then there’s my schedule.  I simply don’t have the time to write every day.  I’m not a morning person in general, and I certainly don’t have enough focus to get up early and write.  I wouldn’t, even if I didn’t have kids going off to school.  (Not that I’m doing much besides offering support services; my wife does the heavy lifting with the morning rituals for them.)  I tend to write best in the later afternoon and evening.  I don’t know why; that’s when the words will flow.  And so I don’t get to do too much with that, either.

So Nanowrimo is not a realistic goal when you work full-time and have family obligations.  Especially if you’re a pantser, like I am, and not a plotter.  When I don’t know what I’m going to write, I probably won’t write much.  If I know where I’m going, I can crank out the words, but those days are not that common.

Anyway, good luck to those of you actually doing it.  Hope to read a novel or two from the project.


2 thoughts on “Nanowrimo — Knock out 50K words in November’s 30 days!

  1. Steven M. Moore

    Hi Scott,
    I could nitpick and wonder whether 50 Kwords is a novel (it might be YA, I guess), but I’ll ask a more profound question: what’s a novel? If they’re talking first draft, that’s possible, and yes, you could do 1700 words per day if you worked late into the night, watched no TV, listened to no music, read no books, and forgot about your family for a month. All that would be necessary because you have a day-job.
    However, my definition of novel says that it’s a completed MS ready to send to be formatted (indie) or sent off to agents and publishers (traditional). Even for a full-time writer like me, that’s about three months of work at least.
    I’d like to see stats from NaNoWriMo on how many of their “novels” meet my definition!
    To me this is a wee bit like the gal or guy who’s going to Paris in a month and decides to learn French. It’s not happening.

  2. Scott Dyson Post author

    I’m not sure, because I’ve never really looked into it beyond reading what some blog says about it, but I get the idea that it’s a rough draft only in one month. Then you upload it to some sort of word counter, and they tell you if your manuscript made the word count they determine is the minimum. I agree, if you get that rough draft, you probably will spend at least another month or two (possibly more) doing all the polishing and editing and other such stuff.

    I have been told that 50K is a short novel. In another case, I was told that 40 K was a short novel. Nothing of mine (published) has reached that level yet. But I have one horror novel out at a beta reader, and I think it’s around 47K. I have my dental mystery that clocks in at something over 45K in its original draft. And then there are the two things I’ve written with my son (I did most of the writing, but they’re both his stories and ideas the start with), one stands at about 52K and the other is around 68K or maybe a bit more. That’s everything I have finished so far (I finished one of them this past weekend while not playing music!).

    Anyway, having a full-time job and a family with plenty to do precludes me from even attempting it…

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