How to write and not be driven to eat your own weight in lard

After four weeks cudgelling words into existence and watching that count rise, National Novel Writing Month’s over. And now …what?

Wright_WgtnWaterfront2011_Copyright (c) 2011I figure there are three possible scenarios:

1. I hit the target and have a 50,000 word novel drafted.
2. I didn’t hit the target and have something less than 50,000 words.
3. I would have hit 50,000 words, but that M J Wright’s blog was so interesting I spent all my time reading it, telling all my friends to visit, and watching to see if he posted more, while buying as many of his books as I could afford…

It also seems to me that whatever happened, there are possibly three ways to feel about it:

1. Now’s the time to eat my own weight in butter.
2. I’m going to chuck the story in a drawer and forget it, forever.
3. That was a great experience. I’m going to sit back, take a well earned rest for a day or two – then start re-thinking that manuscript.

My money’s on (3). I figure yours will be too.

The thing is, what counts with things like NaNoWriMo is the doing. What all writing is about is the experience. It’s all good. Everything counts as another step in experience – another way-point in the million-word learning curve. What’s more, every writer is learning, all the time, including the established professionals. If they’re not, they won’t grow as writers. That’s the nature of the beast.

So you have your manuscript – whether written for NaNo, or something you’ve been working on a while, or whatever. What next?

I’ve got some ideas about that. You probably do too. More soon.

Meanwhile – how did NaNoWriMo go for you? Or have you another project on the go you’d like to share?

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

Coming up: Sixty Second Writing tips and ‘write it now’ return next week with more tips, hints, and ways of mastering the hard reality of writing in today’s world.  Plus – well, watch this space.

13 thoughts on “How to write and not be driven to eat your own weight in lard

  1. Hi, Matthew,

    This is the best post you’ve done so far about NaNo, but it could be that, since it’s over and I’m once more a finalist, I can be more objective! Definitely going with “3” on this one. Took a break from World War 2 and went back to science fiction for a bit with a story about the first starship. Fun but a lot harder to write than I thought it would be!


    1. The SF novel sounds good. To me, that combination of ‘fun’ and ‘challenge’ is what writing’s about – I find every book I do usually has some hurdle in it, even after all this time, which demands some kind of lateral thought, learning and new approach in order to conquer the issue. It’s all good.


  2. I’m kinda sad NaNo is over. Even though I was constantly behind (only catching up today), that word count meter on the website was a great motivator. I’m going to miss it for the last 30 000 words that still need to get written. I’m actually excited to get to the editing part. I know it’s probably going to be much harder than NaNo, but I’m already getting ideas on things that will need to change. The journey is only beginning.


    1. Editing is often the best part of writing – certainly is for me, anyway. And it’s surprising how much creativity has to go into it – also potentially the best part of writing (I sound like a labrador here, everything’s my favourite thing, but you get what I mean…)


  3. Rather than a novel, I worked on my current poetic effort, Breath of a Demon:The Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James. I’m ever writing, but it was a comfort to know the world was writing with me.


  4. Some of our group did a mini-Nano, knowing how demanding the tyranny of the full thing can be. I can report that all our happy band (except one who retired early) reached their target of 1000 words a day and are still sane, smiling, and in a fit state to tackle the pre-Christmas season. Right up until November 1st I had no idea what I’d be writing so it was very liberating to just start planning, writing and researching on the fly! Now I’m halfway through a novel that would have taken a lot longer without the discipline of daily totals to achieve and friends to report to. Thanks for all your helpful Nano posts!


  5. Although I am disappointed to be 12,897 words short as of 11:59, I am pleased that I got this far. I’ve signed up on two or three other occasions and was never able to cut the mustard. This year, I will finish in the next day or two and the accomplishment will still mean the same thing for me: I finished my book.

    I’m also so excited to be able to edit a complete work – an entire manuscript that’s my own and not a client’s, which is what kept me from my novels for years. I can only count this as a great accomplishment and when I’m feeling down I will remember that I started late in ’13 and still wrote more than 37,000 words.


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