The NaNoWriMo Experiment

I've finished my novel! It's being published right now!

Er, no it's not. In my dreams maybe.

So last month I participated in NaNoWriMo- that's National Novel Writing Month, a month to write a 50000 word novel. I got to 30000 by December.

I recently read that to write a book one must write 2000 words a day. That's more than NaNoWriMo requires so I don't think they are far off by asking people to write 1600 a day. However, it's a pace I can't keep up. This isn't the first time I tried novel writing. I abandoned that one a while back when I realized I hated it and had no idea where I was going with it anyway. At 30000 words I can at least say I don't totally hate my latest story. There were some parts I really loved writing. I think my idea is interesting and want to see it through the end.

The thing is writing a book is not like writing here on the blog. It's all free wheeling and fancy free here on Chrisbookarma. Getting from point A to point B in a coherent fashion is a challenge in a book. What did character A do on page one that is relevant to what's going on now? Wait, didn't I already say that? What's that guy's name again? Oh my God, this is so boring! Trying to be understood and engage an imaginary audience is daunting.

Somehow people manage this. People edit and rewrite until it all makes sense, get it published and send it out into the world. Out there people buy it, read it and form opinions. Good on them! Will this experience make me any less critical of the books I read? I don't think so.

Over the last month, opinions on websites and newspapers have come out for and against NaNoWriMo. There are nailbiters and pearlgraspers who think this is the cultural apocalypse but really who cares if a bunch of wannabes write their little hearts out for a month? How can that be any worse than another season of The Kardashians? Maybe the best thing to come out of NaNoWriMo is that a few thousands people improve their grammar, so what?

For myself, I plan on finishing 'my novel.' I can see the end of it and want to get there. I've grown to like my characters even if they are only people who exist in my imagination. I want to see what happens to them next (craaaaaaaaazy). But I miss reading. A lot. And I even miss writing here on my blog. I miss talking about the books I love. If some people are worried that NaNoWriMo will make more writers and less readers, I can attest that that won't happen. Readers will be readers; we're stubborn like that.
(I don't think I am quite as delusional as this guy here:)

Image: Simon Howden /


  1. Well done for writing 30,000 words and still thinking you're getting somewhere. I know not everyone thinks they're on the right way, so it's great that you do.

    Now it's a matter of keeping it up!

    All the best with making this into a really nice (if maybe not prize winning, but who knows) story!

  2. I participated too. I didn't get to 50,000 words. It was a busy month at work.

  3. Kudos for trying!

    And that video is hilarious...he thinks quite highly of himself, the poor deluded fool.

  4. 30,000 words is fantastic! I never got off the ground, this year, but I've "won" twice and it is definitely grueling to write 1600+ words per day. But, it's also kinda fun. Keep working on that book!

  5. Well done! That's a great achievement. 30000 words are a lot of words :)
    I hope you'll manage to finish it sometime.

  6. I participated and won this year but doubt I will be doing it next year. It was fun and I'm glad I got the first draft of my book on paper but I missed reading SO much!

  7. Honestly, your 30k words are probably far more well written the then rest of us who hit 50k. Seriously. I need to fully rewrite my novel. I can't even edit it, it's that bad...


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