Sorcery, NaNo, and the state of the union ;)

Okay, so I’ve been doing a lousy job keeping updates coming. This novel came to be too quickly and I didn’t have much background to give for it. However, this has been a monumental NaNo for me. Every other time, I leapt in with focus and confidence, blew through the majority of the word count in the first couple weeks if not the first week, and then danced my way to the finish line before Thanksgiving.

This year wasn’t like that.

November posed some unusual challenges for me this year. First off, I was still struggling with an off balance summer that had put me behind on practically everything, then set me up for the desperate need to write so I started a novel in September which had to be finished in time to prep something for NaNo. So, I had already decided to go for a NaNo proper and 50k rather than a completed, full-length novel.

I’d also determined that I’d have to keep working on the Seeing Is Believing edit throughout November because I needed to finish it and the Con Shirt edit on top of everything else.

Then Holly Lisle, who I do programming work for, needed a major back end release for her shop to coincide with her new offerings (fun stuff that you should go check out: Holly’s Shop).

Oh, and I managed to catch my second flu of the year (after the shot :p), because I was so drained from all the running around that exhaustion made me vulnerable. However, I do have to add that this is pretty standard. I seem to get a flu or serious exhaustion-based illness pretty much every year with NaNo. The difference this year was that I’d already had a very serious flu back in October :p.

The upshot of it was that there were five days on which I did nothing, a handful more on which I did less than 1k, and I ended up in a bit of a scramble at the end rather than coasting my way to easy victory.

What have I learned beyond the obvious of not over scheduling myself (something I’m sure to ignore ;))? Though many tout writing every day as the only way, the right way, the way to tell a writer from a wannabe, I’m not an every day writer. It is more draining for me to push a little out consistently than it is to do leaps and bounds. If I can devote a whole focused day and blow out 5k-10k, I end up with more energy than if I do 1k-2k every day for five days. March Madness (40k in seven days) is easier on me than NaNo and I have the rest of the month to prep for it and get other things done.

Which is not to say that I can’t write every day, or even consistently. It’s more that I can’t handle being obligated to, and more to the point, obligated to write more than what I can in my morning hour. That one hour can be anything from 200 to 2000 words, though more often in the 1000-1200 range. Doing that as the first thing after breakfast doesn’t seem to have any negative impact at all. It’s slower than I’m used to producing, but it blends nicely with my other critting, editing, programming, etc. responsibilities.

So does this mean I’ll never do NaNo again? Are you kidding? I’m practically an addict ;). But I think I’ll plan to bull rush the beginning from now on so that when I start coasting, I’ll have my words well in hand :).

Oh, and yes, the release went off beautifully. And no, Seeing is not done. Sigh. But Sorcery is :D.

And my NaNo novel stats:
New Words: 1322 words (Today to tidy off the ending)
51 scenes
51 complete – 100% of the novel
53169 Final Total – with an average of 1043 words per scene.

Oh, and do note that all my stress (which I think I put in a post) about it being too short was irrelevant. It did not end up at the 54k initially predicted, but came pretty darn close :).

…On further review, it looks like I didn’t post about it coming in short. Be grateful :). The last thing you needed was to hear me whining about how this novel would be coming in at 36k, leaving me scrambling for something to fill the 14k hole for NaNo.

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11 Responses to Sorcery, NaNo, and the state of the union ;)

  1. kim_richards says:

    Congratulations on making it to the 50,000 and beyond!

  2. marfisk says:

    Who knows…maybe I’ve finally started to be able to see the length before I start because this novel couldn’t have been more perfectly sized for NaNo if it had tried :).

  3. suelder says:


    “This year wasn’t like that.”

    I roared – probably scared the spider in the corner(don’t have pets, live alone).

    When has nano every been the same, year after year.

    Enjoy a calm(er) December. 🙂


  4. mistri says:

    I found Nanowrimo very hard this year (though I did eventually get through it). Like you, I think that I need the freedom to write when I want. Which is not to say that writing regularly is a bad thing, but that if I need a day to regroup and plot ahead or just have a break, it’s nice to do so guilt-free and without an arbitrary deadline looming.

    I’m not actually sure I will do Nanowrimo again. This year I think the main reason I suffered was because I didn’t plan ahead (I’m one of those outliney people) and I could never take a day off to think about the plot without then having to write twice as much the next. I spent pretty much all month feeling completely exhausted, which doesn’t make for a great book – though I know I can revise it.

  5. marfisk says:

    What’s that phrase? From your lips to God’s ears?

    And very true. You only have to click back through the posts I’ve made on NaNo, though it doesn’t mark all the way to my first year in 2003. Each year manages to be unique.

    Thanks :).

  6. marfisk says:

    Eep. And hugs. That sounds miserable.

    On the other hand, one of the reasons I do NaNo is because I do not yet have a book contract. It’s working to a deadline imposed by someone else and proving I can get it done.

    On the outline, a friend of mine, Lazette Gifford, told me about what she does a couple years back and it has saved me more often than I like to think about. She always has a couple novels outlined that she hasn’t written yet for when she needs a new project in a short timespan. I’m still working on the “outline then walk away” part of it and often end up starting the thing I was outlining immediately, but I have a few I’ve managed to squirrel.

    The year before last I was determined not to do NaNo, right up until the last moment, when I grabbed an existing outline and RAN!

  7. Erin says:

    “not over scheduling myself (something I

  8. Erin says:

    There was a whole comment there. I swear there was, including laughing at your comment that only part of the quote is showing up for.

    . . . I give up.

    • Margaret McGaffey Fisk says:

      Hugs. I’m guessing the apostrophe was a special character and broke your comment. However, I do wonder at the blast from the past wandering :). After all, this was my 2007 end of NaNo post :). I have a few more weeks before I’m this panicked.

      • Erin says:

        I didn’t even look at the date. *laugh* I did wonder, though, since the numbers didn’t seem to match what you were saying on FM. All I know is it showed up in my inbox . . .

        • Margaret McGaffey Fisk says:

          Weird. VERY weird. Maybe this is the universe saying I should edit Sorcery and the Perfect Dress :).

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