NaNoWriMo – all good things must come to an end

I had no guest booked in tonight (shock, horror!) so I thought I’d write about NaNoWriMo. 🙂

This was my fourth November undertaking the 50,000+ word project that is the National Novel Writing Month.

I’d heard it being mentioned back in 2008 and until then had not considered writing a novel but figured a month out of my life would be worth the experimentation so decided, that October, that I’d do it. I’m never short of ideas but I’d only ever written short stories before and only (although they’d seemed much longer until I checked) 3,000-word ones at that. With little time to prepare, nothing came to mind that could have covered a novel so I dug out pieces I wrote for college to see if I could expand on those, but they were fairly self-contained. We had however begun a script and mine was light-hearted so I thought I might even enjoy spending a condensed month writing something fun. And ‘Hitman Sam’ was born.

Then in late October 2009 I thought I ought to see what I could do for that year and in my Word document of ideas came across a wealth of weird and wonderful male characters so I threw them in a pot, along with local journalist Isobel, and the first draft of ‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’ came out the other end, a massive 117,540 words later (a figure imprinted on my brain).

A much darker piece followed in November 2010 and could possibly be the one that never sees light of day. It’s often quoted that writing can be therapeutic and whilst I hadn’t realised I needed any, it certainly felt good getting that one down on paper (well, screen but it’s also in a ring binder – it’s how I edit, although I haven’t that one yet… if I do).

This year I cheated. I still completed the 50,000 words (just; 50,040 according to Word or 50,163 according to the NaNoWriMo widgets, and who am I to complain?) but instead of writing a novel I wrote three collections of short stories. Firstly was another eleven stories that, along with April’s Fool, will make up ‘Calendar Girls’ but then I finished with many thousands of words to go so I created seven themed stories (just from the idea of the theme) and a bunch of random ‘whatever struck me at the time’, which may end up being a collection in its own right, individual (free) short stories, and / or participants of other anthologies. They’re currently marinating quite happily so I’ll see what I think they should be when I come back to them.

Apart from short stories being my first love, I found not having to stick with one story very liberating and fresh, which is just as well considering I’d written 2,683 words on day 1 then nothing for 21 days; leaving me just over 47,000 words to write in the final 8 days. I’d always known, given this being my first year of blogging, that it would be tight but I hadn’t anticipated how tight! But I managed it, albeit with 40 / 163 words over and an hour to spare (and dark circles under my eyes threatened to convert into bags) but now it’s all over, I can relax, catch up on sleep and forget about it.

Or can I? I know I now have those 50,040 / 50,163 words to hone, chop, purge, add to and eventually send off to my editor Rachel, to ultimately go on Smashwords and Amazon (the latter is another job on my list for the eBooks already on Smashwords) and with my current job coming to an end at Christmas (my choice) the pressure will be on me to see writing as career rather than a hobby. So will that stop me doing NaNoWriMo again? No way. For 30 days (or in this year’s case 9 days) it’s the best way to get me writing – the best thing you can do if you want me write something for you is give me a deadline – and it may only be December 5th but I’m already looking forward to November 1st 2012 and given that the Mayan Calendar stops at December 21st 2012, I’d better make sure it’s my best yet. 🙂

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with thriller writer Eric Wachtel – the two hundred and ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – all good things must come to an end

  1. Michael Hogan says:

    Great work, Morgen. I finished my 50,00 words (actually 50,112) as well by the deadline. Did you get the Nanowrimo CHEER? Last time I wrote a novel; this time I wrote a memoir. Anyway….good luck with the decision to work full time on your writing. I think it is a good one since you have already proven to yourself that you have the discipline for the long haul. As my mentor Steve Orlen once wrote, “Most writers fail, not from lack of talent, but lack of character.” You are strong in both areas and are an inspiration to all. Blessings. Michael


  2. morgenbailey says:

    Hello Michael. I didn’t know you were doing it, well done. 🙂 I saw the ‘cheer’ video, that was funny. That’s the great things about NaNoWriMo; not only do they cheer everyone on but we do each other. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who ‘cheated’. 🙂 Thank you so much for the lovely compliments. Next year can go one of two ways and I know which way I’ll be aiming. 🙂 See, lots of smiley faces already…


  3. Tony Tibbenham says:

    You have ideas, discipline and passion for not just writing but being an author. I am so glad you are following your heart. May your passion be spiced with good luck and your career develop better than you expect.


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