NaNoSlowMo: Observations from the Other Side of the Halfway Mark...

As of this writing, I'm at about 31K and some change into my NaNoWriMo book, Starflower, which is about where I should be by this point. It could be better, but I'm not complaining. At the rate I'm going, I will finish with a couple days to spare. In previous years, I always managed to pass 50K by the 20th/21st. I'm not sure I'll quite beat that record this year, though I can't account for any sudden spurs of manic creativity and motivation that might just make that happen. My desire to avoid the weight of a deadline hanging over my head in preparation for the holiday next week is always a great motivator. I'm not sure I'll meet my self-made goal of completing the entire first draft in one month, but that's okay too. One day at a time.

My pace has been much slower with this book for a number of reasons. For one, I have found that the story is far more character driven than my other work. While I had major plot points outlined from the beginning, I've had to dig into my characters' heads a little more than usual to figure out what they're going to do and/or say to get to those points. I consider this a good thing, because I've had some pretty incredible insights and ideas on themes I'd like to explore.

Another reason I'm going a little slower than usual this year is, I think, subconscious (though I guess now that I'm attempting to analyze it, it's not exactly subconscious anymore). I have found the "balls-out" style of writing that NaNoWriMo tends to encourage winds up making me put out something that is almost too bad or intimidating to revise. So a slower and more deliberate approach, for me anyway, results in better writing and something that won't likely result in the post-NaNo fatigue where, at the end of the month after I've driven myself to the breaking point, I don't even want to think about writing for at least two months, let alone look at the mess of word vomit I evacuated in November. And that normally results in a (permanently) unfinished book.

So I'm taking it slow and allowing myself to enjoy the process of storytelling as I normally do. In fact, I'm not even really all that concerned if I happen to "fail" and not collect my winner's certificate this year. I mean, I very likely will, and I'll smile and post my little web badge up in the corner when I do, because hey, I earned it.  But I'll just keep on plodding (or plotting?) along until it the book is finished. Writing Starflower feels now like the sort of writing project I would tackle at any other time of the year, where I'm content to nurture my story and characters for however long it takes to get to the end. It's no longer a NaNo book. It's my Work in Progress.


  1. I love character studies probably the most out of any type of novel. I'm very much looking forward to this one. And I like that you aren't 'grading' yourself and just letting go of the results. If you ever do open a bookshop/bakery I am taking a trip!

  2. Maybe I'll make it a chain and open on near you! lol