ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

NaNoWriMo - Week One

Updated on January 17, 2011

What a lovely surprise

I am sure that many of us have heard of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which officially takes place in November?  I have a friend, as I'm sure many of you will, who took part in this scribbling marathon in 2010.  At the time I was building up my hub library, and working on my own novel, so I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo in November 2011 instead.  After all, a person cannot possibly make time in each month to do absolutely everything they would like to do.

But I did not know then that I was going to be elbowed into undertaking the 50,000-word-novel-in-31-days challenge well before November.  This Christmas I was given the above pictured novel writing kit, put together by the very same Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo.  My mum received a kit also.  We decided not to delay, and began the challenge eight days ago.  I had thought to start in, say, April.  But when I visited my mum just over a week ago, she said 'okay, shall we begin this weekend?' and we were off.  She was quite right, of course, and I realised that I had randomly chosen April as a way of putting the task off.  April would certainly have come and gone, and either I would have just forgotten about the whole novel thing, or I would have found an excuse to put it off for another month, and then another.  Best to just jump straight in, quite right.

And I must say that I have learned some very important lessons in these past eight days.  Some lessons I already knew, from my experiences with other unfinished novels.  But I'd forgotten those lessons, so it was good to relearn them.  I will write more about what I have learned at the end of the thirty-one days though.

When you break it down, fifty-thousand words over thirty-one days is only a little over one-thousand-six-hundred words per day.  Not really all that much (!), and if you sit down with a cup of tea (Earl Grey relaxes me and puts me in sublime writing mode) and a nice bit of Debussey in the background, you can get those words done in a couple of hours.  Easy (!)

Of course, I'm only one week into the journey.  It's been a glorious week, after I finally made that initial decision: which idea to choose.  I texted several people thus: 'ghost story set in 1725, or science fiction set on twin planets with humans at vastly different stages of technological development?'  It was unanimous - ghost story it was.  I began, and lo! the first few hundred words read like the opening of a novel.  Oh my word, this was amazing, a fully edited and perfectly worded novel was pouring out of me.  This task was going to be a doddle for me.  Characters emerged, fully grown and multi-faceted from the outset.  Plot lines suggested themselves, and one in particular seemed very plausible and rather gripping.  I knew exactly where to go to make the plot begin to appear.  I even knew how to write in a few nice points of misdirection, red herrings as it were.

I was having a whale of a time (apologies for the sealife references - my story has a somewhat maritime flavour, which I am finding it difficult to shake off in my other writing).  Surely I would have the whole novel written and ready for publication within the month.  But realisitically, I knew that this word spawning session would not last.  Oh, they are still flowing from me, being deposited in little packets, several hundred words at a time, like tiny little fish eggs, ready to hatch into a shoal of something stunningly beautiful and shimmering.  But I anticipate the arrival of some word eating crabs and other crustaceans very soon, and my roe of inspiration will be gone.  

I'm not being defeatist here, only realistic, and I am preparing myself for hitting the wall.  (I will now switch unapologetically to a running analogy.)  

Runners have a wall that they hit, and that wall is different for every runner.  When I run I hit the wall at about three miles (do you now have an image of me losing my balance and being so weak that I have no control over my legs so that I run headlong into someone's garden wall?).  I do not run far, and can only do about six miles in total.  But I know, when I hit that wall (by now you will understand that it is a virtual wall, and that it will not cause me to have bruised knees) that I have to keep running to get over it and find my 'second wind' (no comment).  It is just the same with writing - though much less physically painful, and marginally less sweaty - and a writer will encounter many walls over the course of a project.  Successful writers (i.e., those who reach the finish line) are those who get over every wall.  So I'm told.  I don't actually know if this is true, since I have never reached the finish line yet.

But anyway, I have completed week one of NaNoWriMo, exceeding my word goal every day bar one.  I have learnt that I can write plenty of good words every day if I just get on with it and stop stalling.  You may also have noticed that I have learned to 'word pad' to an alarming degree, and that I can now pretty much talk about anything, even if it is not related to the topic I am supposed to be discussing.  This is encouraged in NaNoWriMo.  Also encouraged is self-praise, whether truly deserved or not.  So I must tell you that I am doing a truly excellent job of writing my monthlong novel, and you'll never have read anything so fantastic and diverting in your whole life.

I have also learnt that I can write much, much more in a day than I ever dreamed possible.  Which ever writer told me that we should aim for no more than eight-hundred words a day has done me a great disservice!  That writer, whoever she was, is probably underestimating her own abilities - I know it was a woman, but that's all I know.  She, whoever she was, said that if we aimed too high and tried to write, say, fifteen-hundred words, our writing would be worthless and would just be thrown in the trash anyway.  This is so absolutely not the case.  In the past week I have had several days in which I have just been on a roll, and I have steamed ahead and written two-thousand lovely words.  Of course, you have only got my word for that - but hey, I think my word is good enough.

NaNoWriMo, you have changed my life,

You came into my world to bring me strife.

But I will conquer you, demon task,

I'm getting my words down, oh yes, just ... ask!  (ugh, lame!)

(That's why I don't write poetry.)

So, only ... mmm, mental maths, not my strong point ... twenty-three days left to go.  Can I make it to the end, with my brain intact?  You betcha, I can!  My plot is already getting a little thin and leaky, but I am going to perform some wondrous feats of word plumbing on it, don't you worry.  There's no way I could tell you all about beginning NaNoWriMo, and then fail to finish it - how embarrassing would that be?!

Onward →

(Hey, you know, I think this is the way to go, the way to get the novel done that I've been working on almost fruitlessly for three years - JUST WRITE IT!  JUST WRITE IT ALL DOWN, even if it's crap!  I think it will work - it'll be fun finding out...)


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)