Chasing words

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s known, is now over, and for the first time in a few years I took part… and made it to the end! It was a triumph because halfway through it really didn’t look like I stood a chance. Here are my stats:NaNo stats

See, I was off to a good start, wasn’t I? But then look what happened! Right until the end, I was miles away from the diagonal blue line, the target. The final week felt like a race, chasing each word until it was firmly in place and then running after the next one.

A couple of major things helped me. The first was attempting to match the word counts of my “NaNo Buddies”, one of which always seemed to be just that little bit out of my reach. (Thank you to YA author extraordinaire Emma Pass!)
Another was desperately wanting to find out what my characters were up to and why. And the only way to do that was to keep writing.


An additional help was attending virtual write-ins. These were live streams on YouTube held from San Francisco, where people from all over the world got together and wrote in unison. The hosts set challenges and prompts, but you were free to ignore them and do your own thing. It was surprisingly enjoyable to write away at the same time as thousands of others in far-flung countries.

That’s what worked for me, but I know everyone has a different approach, and there are many ways to reach any writing goal. In fact, check out this account by writer Kip Wilson Rechea about the way she won NaNoWriMo this year. You only have to glance at her stats to see how different our methods were. And yet we still both got there!

NaNoWriMo takes place each November, but there are various related activities throughout the year, and the Young Person’s Program, too, for writers aged under 17.

If you took part, how did you get on?

Happy reading and writing!


(World image by arniiiwebmedia at Morguefile, with thanks)

5 thoughts on “Chasing words

  1. Congratulations! I made it too, with 50,117 words by the 30th. Sadly I’m only half way through my new story though, so it’s nose down to the grindstone for me! 🙂

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