Thursday, 7 March 2013

Day Zero Project: Win NaNoWriMo

For those of you not in the know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It's a competition taking place in November each year where you aim to write 50,000 words in thirty days. It's absolutely crazy and the best thing is, thousands of people around the world take part in it at the same time, which just helps to amplify the craziness!

Like my target of reading 52 books in a year, this one was maybe a bit of a cop out. I've completed NaNoWriMo before and on several occasions I've written 100,000 words in the month, so I did know that it was something I could do.

However, since the time that I'd last won I'd moved into a job where I couldn't get away with working on my NaNo at my desk during the day. And an attempt to write by hand during the first year at this job caused me to give up somewhere around Day 6. A large part of the problem in 2011 was that I just didn't get into my story and I didn't have internet access at home so I couldn't update my progress or check on the NaNo site; it just wasn't as fun.

I thought setting it as part of my Day Zero Project would encourage me to go for it again in 2012. It's something I really enjoy and it'd be a shame to give it up because of one loss. And it worked.

What also helped was posting my progress on Facebook. I'm friends with people at work on there and so they started asking about it and encouraging me. That's a wonderful motivator. Internet access meant I could update my word counts and make use of my competitive streak by comparing my counts to others, which helped too.

I also found a useful idea on the forum which suggested starting with higher word counts and then gradually reducing the number of words you write each day. Normally to hit the 50,000 word target you'd need to write 1,667 words each day; this other method meant you to started writing over 3,000 during the first few days but by halfway through the month your daily targets would be approaching 1,500.

I always tend to start strong and then struggle as the story goes on. Especially if I'm writing over 50,000 words, I'll hit the target and then take a break for a week or so, then barrel out more in the last week. This method meant that I wasn't losing out on words as my momentum slowed and also got me ahead from the start so on days when I couldn't manage the suggested word count, I was able to coast until I could.

Despite getting another NaNo win under my belt; I'm yet to actually complete a NaNoNovel. I'll either work on them for a little bit during December before abandoning it as Christmas gets nearer, then never get around to picking it back up (until the following NaNo when I might pull it out, make new notes and try writing it again in a different way); or on November 30th I'll log my final word count, close and back-up the document, and forget that it ever existed.

So while I've technically completed my Day Zero Project challenge for this, I'll probably give it a go again this year (because I do hate to see others suffering through it without me), but this time I might aim to write a complete story and actually get to the words 'The End'.


  1. I did Camp Nano last August, can't wait to take part in another one. I like that they've made it so you can choose the number of words now.

    1. They let you choose the number of words?? I will have to check this out.

  2. I got to The End in 2012 it was my goal to write a beginning, middle and end. But that was the only thing that was right with that story.

    It was a lot of fun and will do it again.

    1. It is hilarious. Especially when you read back what you've written during late night writing sessions and you realise that it makes no sense, or you don't remember writing it and you think 'did I do that?'.


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