Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Counting down the top 10 reasons why I’m NOT doing NaNoWriMo

Myra Johnson
About this time every year, at least for as long as I’ve known there was such a thing as National Novel Writing Month, I get a little intimidated.

Make that a LOT intimidated.

Oh, the pressure!

In case you are among the rare few in the writing community who have never heard of NaNoWriMo, here’s what their website says:

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Did you get that? The 50,000 words part? In a month?

(Stop snickering, Ruthy.)

Let me break this down. That means, if you average five writing days a week, you have exactly 20 days. Which means you need to write 2500 words a day, every day. But even if you manage to write every single day for the entire month, you’d still need to average 1600+ words a day!

On a good day I might hit 1000. On a great day, maybe 1500. On a super-duper, words-are-flowing-like-melted-butter day, I have occasionally made it to 2500.

But how many of those super-duper days does any one writer have in her (or him)?

Yes, I know. Unless your name is Ruth Logan Herne.

Did I mention I’m thinking of changing my name?

Okay, for the first time EVER, I have just actually visited the NaNoWriMo website to educate myself about this phenomenon. There’s a lot more to it than I ever imagined! Like, it’s ORGANIZED! You have to sign up and everything. And then prove you actually wrote actual words!

BUT no one actually reads the manuscript you submit to prove you actually wrote that many actual words.

AND you get badges for your accomplishments! Writers live for affirmation, don’t we?

AND you might even win a fabulous prize!

So . . . why aren’t I participating? Let’s count it down.

10.  You saw the 50,000 words part, right? In a month???

9.  It’s November. Thanksgiving comes in November. For anyone planning an actual Thanksgiving dinner, that means at least one or two fewer writing days. Three or four, if you count the days sleeping in because you ate too much on Thanksgiving. Five or six (or more!) if you’re expecting company and need to shovel out the guest room!

8.  Every year, it seems I get to November with a lot of other writing things I need to be doing, like trying to meet a deadline for the revisions my editor just sent, or promoting a recent release, or (this year) co-teaching an online writing class (waving to Dora Hiers and the class).

7.  Have you noticed that November is when a lot of leaves are falling? That means regular raking and bagging just so we can find our way out to the mailbox and back. Okay, so hubby does most of the raking and bagging. But sometimes I need to supervise, or he will suddenly develop an irresistible macho urge to break out the pruning shears and decapitate my prize hydrangeas.

6.  November is also the month when I have to find sunny spots indoors for all my outdoor potted plants so they don’t freeze. It’s a lot of work digging the plants out from under all the falling leaves, trimming off straggly foliage, and making sure every plant is sitting in some kind of saucer so my carpet and windowsills aren’t ruined. This takes planning, and lots of it.

5.  Once a month—and November is no exception—I have to brainstorm a Seekerville blog topic. You can see how well I did coming up with this month’s! And once I narrow down my topic, I have to actually write the post, which can take hours and hours of concentrated effort (can’t you tell?). Okay, true, an organized Seeker doing NaNo would have prewritten her blog, like, last April or May or something. I’m organized, but not that organized.

4.  Sitting in a chair to write for hours on end (November or any other time of year) is not beneficial to one’s health. I have a treadmill desk, but I've never been very successful with it. For one thing, I make a lot more typos, which wastes time. For another, there’s some kind of disconnect in my brain when I try to walk, think, and type all at the same time. This begins to look like an accident waiting to happen.

3.  Have I mentioned my husband is semi-retired? Anyone who lives practically 24/7 with a husband under foot knows full well how distracting they can be! “Honey, my Internet is down. Can you take a look at my computer?” “Honey, can this shirt go in the dryer or not?” “Honey, [even though he now does most of the cooking] do you have any ideas for supper?”

2.  I’d rather save my big writing push until March, when Seekerville hosts Speedbo. March is a MUCH better month for concentrated writing, don’t you think? And we give fabulous prizes, too!

1.  50,000 words in 30 days. ’Nuf said.

So what are your excuses for avoiding NaNoWriMo?

Or, if you’re one of the brave souls who made the NaNo commitment this year, tell us how you conquer the excuses so you can keep pounding out the words. Give me enough good reasons to counterbalance my list of negatives, and maybe I’ll reconsider next year.

Because we all know that it sometimes takes large doses of caffeine to maintain a functional writer’s brain, today’s giveaway is a $10 gift card to Starbucks! Anyone for a pumpkin spice latte??? If you want to be included in the drawing, just use the word SPICE (in ALL CAPS, please) somewhere in your comment!

And, in honor of Veteran's Day and my Navy grandson, who just graduated from A-school to become a corpsman ...


  1. With the exception of excuses 4, 5, and 6, you were writing this article for me (and just didn't know it)!!

    You giveaway book arrived today. Thank you so much, Myra.

    Coffee's brewing!!!

  2. I think your excuses were all valid and excellent, Myra! (in my humble opinion, hehehe). ;)

    My main reason this year (for not doing NaNo) is planning for my son's college graduation in December. I need to do LOTS before his actual Graduation day of Dec. 13 (including rounding up a ton of photos from his childhood). Also on Thanksgiving we're having a big family dinner and birthday party (my middle sister's b'day) so I knew better than to commit to NaNo---at least not this year. ;)

    CONGRATS to your grandson!! Love that cute Navy bear. :)

    Hugs, Patti Jo (who would love some of Helen's coffee...but should be sleeping right now, LOL)

  3. I love SPICEED coffee and recently heard that cinnamon arouses women more than any other scent. Hmm, must be a guy writing this who wants a free Starbucks card! :)

    50,000 words in November with Thanksgiving to boot? Forget it, think I'll slog on with the project at my own pace. Goals are good and deadlines are better, but insanity is for the insane.

    Thanks Myra for your post.

  4. That would be SPICE as in spiced coffee, (sorry should proof before publishing). Must be getting old and/or blind... :(

  5. Myra, is that you on the treadmill? I'm so impressed, even if you were just posing! I can't walk and chew gum, so I'm guessing that would be a disaster at my house, too.

    And I'd love to be a SPICE girl, ;) Starbucks is within walking distance of my house. Yikes!

    I participated in Nan one year and like the Speedbo format so much better. For me, it's about discipline and the word count comes.

    Congrats to your grandson! What a lovely photo!

  6. Those are great reasons to not to NaNoWriMo. I totally lapsed on even thinking about it this year. As you said, November is packed with so much with Thanksgiving, my birthday, my brother's birthday, preparing for the harsh winter months ahead. Wow, it tires me just thinking about it. Then if you try to get a jump on Christmas shopping.... nothing more needs to be said. I agree, March is a much better month.

    I love SPICE and I love coffee. So a little SPICED coffee would do me good right now. Thank you.

    Have a blessed day everyone!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  7. Firstly love the navel bear. I came back from the city and wish I had have had time to look at the names on the little crosses they had near the war memorial cos one would have had my great uncles name.
    Had cortisone in the wrist. it still hurts but not as much as it did earlier.
    I don't know how anyone could write at a treadmill.

  8. Hey Myra!

    I actually look forward to NaNo and Speedbo. I don't do it through the official website--since I don't like the thought of uploading as proof, but I get together with a trusted group of on-line friends in another forum and we compete against other teams. Our wordcounts are on the honor system.

    November is a month when my day job eases up and I find I have more time to write. Our team is doing pretty well for an historical team and we have a good time together. We are not insane! :) Have a great day Seekerville!

  9. Yep. Did the same math and came up with the same conclusion.

    Nuf said.

    And I laughed at mention of hubby. My problem exactly. He says, "Its just a quick question" But he still hasn't understood that the quick question takes me out of my world. And that is not good when I'm in a wonderful, emotional scene. Thankfully, he likes to take a nap in the afternoon. Yay for night owls who like to sleep in and take naps.

  10. MYRA,
    It is intimidating and it's not for everyone. I'm not writing a full book for November. I'm rewriting an early one, which is a lot more doable.

  11. You don't have to do NANO. You do enough.

  12. Myra,
    Excellent post. I think of these not as excuses, but of rational explanations. Actually, I really like what Mark said:

    "Goals are good and deadlines are better, but insanity is for the insane."

    My November would substitute report cards for all your gardening, so it would not only be insane, but irresponsible as well, for me to attempt NANO. That's my story!

    Actually,I've often wondered why they chose November since t seems like such a crazy month.

  13. Myra,

    An excellent post...full of SPICE :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  14. Myra, you are Seekerville's David Letterman. LOL

    I'm impressed with anyone who can type and walk on the treadmill! Yet sitting so much is a hazard to our health. I'm thinking about trying to speak words into my iPad. Anyone tried that?

    I brought apple fritters with tiny American flags on each one in honor of those who serve and have served our country. That's your grandson, Myra. Know you're popping buttons!

    Love the bear.

  15. Jenny, happy dancing that your wrist feels better after the cortisone shot!!


  16. I bet you are very proud of your grandson! That is awesome.

    I have never officially done NaNoWriMO, meaning signed up on the website, but I have used and am using this time to finish a contracted manuscript. This makes four for me.

    I do it unofficially because I'm never trying to get 50K only 45K and I go into the month with at least 9k finished on the manuscript. And because other than one manuscript, I've always had a contract on the book I'm working on.

    I do prefer Seekerville's book in a month in March and have participated and finished two rough drafts during that time.

  17. Morning, Myra. Oh my stars, don't let your hubby loose with those pruning shears. But, hey, he did a great job handling the cue cards!!

    I'm with ya 100% on NaNo. With a word count range similar to yours and a full house the Thanksgiving weekend, I can't imagine ever giving NaNo a try. Now Speedbo...maybe. :D

    Loved your post, sweet friend!

  18. LOL, YAY, MYRA!!! A woman after my own heart ... AND limitations!!!

    I hear you, girlfriend, November is certainly not the month I would choose to try and write a 50-word novel, WHICH actually would only be 1/4 of one of my contracted novels ... sigh. That could have something to do with why I only put out one book a year, I guess ... or two if you factor in a word count of 110,000.

    I propose that January would be a FAR better month ... or February ... because January is the month I hibernate with my computer, allowing NOTHING else to interfere. And since all the holiday entertaining is over, it's a quiet, steady month. IN FACT ... it was in January and February -- TWO MONTHS -- that I wrote and completely finished A Passion Redeemed, which was almost 150,000 words. And THAT was working a part-time job!! :)

    Fun post, Myra! Now get back to that raking ... ;)


  19. I agree with Mary. November is an odd month to choose. I'm thinking January would be ideal. The holidaying is over and there's nothing on the horizon and New Year resolutions are fresh. Mind you, I love Speedbo in March. Works well for me because I'm off on spring break for one week. Plus I like that we can set our own goals. Seekerville trumps nano! Woot!!!

  20. Good morning, Seekerville!

    And thanks once again to HELEN for being here bright and early to start the coffeepot!!

    Hope you enjoy my book, Helen. I assure you, I did NOT write it in a single marathon-month!!!

  21. Hi, PATTIE JO! Glad I'm not the only one with built-in excuses! Congratulations on your son's college graduation--how exciting!

    I love my little Navy bear. Our grandson gave it to me when we saw him in San Antonio while at RWA last summer. The uniform detail is supposed to be authentic. Except for the plastic shoes, of course!

  22. MARK, I'm glad we agree on the insanity of trying to write 50K in November!!! Besides, I'd rather write a thousand usable words in a day than 2500 that will require MUCH revision!

    As for your cinnamon theory . . .

  23. Way to go Myra - step up and be counted! I'm with you on most of these. Much as I wish things were different, I am not a full time writer. I go to my 'real job' every day from 8 to 5. It's all I can do to squeeze in writing time along with everything else that has to come first. so no no nano. But that's why I love speedbo. I don't have to write 50,000 words. Whatever my goal is - Seekerville is here cheering me on. Thank you Seekerville. As always - you have my back.

  24. Um, yes, LYNDEE, that was me on the treadmill. A few years ago, actually, before I realized it wasn't exactly working for me.

    I agree--Speedbo is much more doable for me. Besides NOT being in November!!!!!

  25. Hi, CINDY! Wow, you DO have a busy November!!! And can you believe the month is almost half gone already? I'm sitting here in my upstairs office watching leaves float down into the backyard. Hubby has his work cut out for him--and no excuses like last year when he chose November 4 to get a knee replacement!

  26. JENNY, I'm so sorry your wrist is causing so much trouble. Praying the cortisone shot gives you a little relief.

    You know, there are few things that bring a clutch to the throat like passing a veteran's cemetery and seeing rows and rows and rows of markers, and realizing all these brave men and women offered their lives in service of their country. So humbling.

  27. PIPER, I think you have the right approach to NaNo. Use it as a motivator but set realistic goals that will keep you moving forward consistently. It's great you have your own accountability team. My local RWA chapter is doing something similar this month, and yes, I am taking part in that and just trying to add some words to my wip every day.

  28. Congrats to the new Navy Corpsman!!! :)

    Like Myra, I either have projects that I'm in the middle of, or already started and just have to get back to them. I did something similar once in that I had to write a certain amount of words a day for 30 days...I did it, but the ms was such a mess at the end, that it took me many MANY months to fix it.

    My brain just doesn't work that way. I layer and work and layer until I get to the end. Right now I'm about to write the ending scenes of a novella, but yesterday, I went back and cleaned up the first 70% of the novella. I made sure what plot points and plants I wanted were in place so that I can tie those up neatly so that I have a clear goal in mind as I write these final scenes. Otherwise, it's too easy for me to go off on a rabbit trail and just write whatever.

    NaNo, for me, would be a "whatever". After the first few days of writing the opening, which is mega fun because you can give your new characters any set of problems to solve, but by day four or five, I'd be staring at the screen, trying to figure out how my hero who started seeking revenge tracking a murderer in the Mojave desert in 1870 was now picking daisies in Alabama in 2014. :(

  29. SANDRA, we understand each other!!!!! Those husbands just DO NOT get it!!!!!

    Yay for hubby naptimes, calls to sub at the Christian school down the road, projects that keep him outdoors for a few hours, trips to the grocery store, etc. We enjoy our TRULY quiet times when we can find them!

  30. I am not doing NaNoWriMo because I just wrote 50,000+ last month to meet a deadline, I have edits/revisions due (next Monday) on another book, have a novella to finish before the end of the month, and my editor is asking for my next proposal before Thanksgiving.

    No time for a new project in there...but March sounds lovely. I'll take the busyness though, because as dear Ruthy always says, being busy and on deadline means they're still buying.

    And it sounds like a lot, but variety is the SPICE of life, right? So my November is just extra spicy this year ;) (this girl LOVES me some Starbucks).

  31. KB, I'm glad you have found a way to use NaNo to your advantage. Way to go!!!

  32. MARY CURRY, I've wondered the same thing. Why November??? Which is why I would rather commit to Speedbo in March. I'll stick to my own goals and deadlines and hope for the best.

    Have fun with report cards!!!

  33. KAREN K, drinking spiced lattes in November makes a LOT more sense than committing to write a 50K-word novel!

  34. Hi Myra,
    I love your 10 reasons, I'd be adding a few others to my list if I was a writer.
    1)FIVE! family birthdays in Nov.
    2)Christmas prep, to free up some Dec. time to actually ENJOY the BEST time of the year. I buy my cards and stamps, almost all my presents before Thanksgiving.
    3)Clean out the garage and shed and put the flowerbeds to rest, etc.

    Best quote of the day goes to Mark Abel for,
    "Goals are good and deadlines are better, but INSANITY IS FOR THE INSANE." I love this, he deserves the starbucks SPICE card for this bit of truth. I try to head off at the pass my own insanity by deciding in advance what is highest priority and LET THE REST GO!

    Thanks Myra for helping me think and stay focused on that priority list of mine.

    Totally off topic, I read Mary Connealy's Contemporary last night and LOVED it. I could see a whole series done on the Harden clan. So good Mary!

  35. LOL, Myra! I'm with you on the November thing. I've never tried doing NaNoWriMo. But I much prefer March to attempt the feat.

    Love the photo of your grandson!!

  36. JANET, I've never quite thought of myself in the same context as David Letterman, but if the top-10 countdown gets some attention, I can't argue!

    Nope, gave up typing on the treadmill after a few tries. I'm not a very good multitasker.

  37. ROSE, you are wise to use NaNo in the way that works best for you. I can definitely see how the challenge can motivate writers to just get the story written. And, as you said, it really doesn't work when we've already got books contracted with specific deadlines.

  38. Hey, DORA! Waving to my Seekerville Night Class co-instructor!!! Yes, we both have our hands full this month. Speedbo is much more fun!

  39. Myra, I haven't used it in awhile, but I have a computer holder for my treadmill. I can only walk about 1 1/2 mph and type without making myself dizzy or setting myself up for an accident, but it keeps my back from hurting if I'm the computer too long.

    November is not a good month for me to get in extra writing. I'm still working on increasing my daily writing numbers w/out the extra pressure.

    Speedbo is much better!!!

  40. 10 Reasons why I am doing NaNo this Year

    1) I have a wife who does not like me under foot so she encourages me to get to my office early every day of the week. My office is the perfect place to write between work-work.

    2) It’s in November when it gets dark early, the grass does not grow and there are not enough leaves that have fallen to pick them up yet. More time to write.

    3) It’s Thanksgiving and my wife and her sister spend days getting ready for the big dinner. My job is to stay out of way on the heated porch looking out at the lake and writing with my laptop.

    4) Speedbo is in March and that makes it perfect for doing a second and third draft of my NaNo project. The two events fit like a lock and key.

    5) Seekerville provides too much writing advice and inspiration not to give it full reign with a big NaNo outward expression.

    6) My Characters look up at me with big puppy-like brown eyes wanting their chance to come alive. Can I really turn my back on them? I have five NaNo novels that I would not have if I had not taken those NaNo challenges.

    7) Myra and Dora’s “Characters Come Alive Class” just begged for immediate and practical application. My NaNo project implements each new lesson from Myra’s class as soon as it is posted. My characters read the lesson first and then demand that I give them the 'royal treatment'. They demand that I ‘make them whole’ by doing the things Myra and Dora are teaching. My heroine keeps asking me, "What's my motivation for doing this?"

    8) Tina inspired me one day into NaNo to start a NaNo project I had no intention of doing this year. Tina wanted to know if my characters were going to attend Myra’s class. That gave me the theme for a novel that I just had to write. "What would happen if characters really did come to life?" What would the transiston be like. From fictional to real human being would be one exceptional ARC. This was a book that had to be written. So I started NaNo on the second day. I now have over 20,000 words and very nice cover art that's awaiting the book. It’s posted on NaNo. I’m VincePlato.

    9) An Excellent Pantser Adventure! Since I started NaNo on day two with no idea of doing it this year on a theme I didn’t even come up with, this novel could only be Pantsered. I don’t even know what comes next with my characters from one word to the next and I have to wait for each new course lesson to be posted to learn what course the novel will take next. This is a pantsered novel that follows the class lessons. The plotter in me has left the room!

    10) Scrivener Classes. I just took Scrivener Class II in October and I take Class III at the start of December. I needed this gap time to do an all Scrivener novel. No writing in Word. I also need to try and use every feature I learned about Scrivener whether I need it or not. In Scrivener the saying ‘Use it or lose it’ has never been truer.


    I’m an ex-military, Unity loving, affirmation making, positive thinking, no excuses kind of guy. Rather than come up with excuses why I cannot do something, I come up with motivations that will drive me forward to get the job done. Also, there is nothing better for a writer than having a wife!



    P.S. Now if I can just work this letter into my NaNa metafiction novel, it would add over 500 words to today’s count! I’m sure my characters are reading this letter wondering what I am up to while I wait for the next lesson to be posted.

  41. JULIE!!! You would definitely need four Novembers of NaNo to write one of your books!!!

    Hmmm, I kind of like the idea of hibernating with my Mac in January to get a book written. Of course, hubby would probably argue I tend to hibernate in my office all year long.

  42. KAV, we agree--Speedbo trumps NaNo!!! And I also like JULIE's idea of settling in for a quiet month of writing in January. And as you said, there's something about the start of a new year and resolving to recommit to our writing goals.

  43. CINDY R, I cannot even imagine trying to do NaNo while holding down a full-time job! Speedbo makes a bunch more sense, doesn't it?

  44. I agree, PAM--I don't have a NaNo kind of brain. I need to take my time and get the ms. as close to right on the first pass as I can. It's hard for me to move forward if I realize I need to go back and fix a plot point or adjust a scene to foreshadow something that happens later.

    So that must be some kind of super-human if he started in 1870 and ended up in 2014!!!

  45. JESS--oh my goodness, your schedule sounds crazy-busy!!! Isn't it fun how in this writing business when it rains, it pours? (Are you and RUTHY related, BTW????)

  46. Hi, TRACEY! Wow, 5 birthdays in November??? Yep, you have a lot of partying going on!!!

    Good advice about setting your top priorities and letting the rest go. Reminds me of a popular song . . .

    Let it GOOOO, let it GOOOOOO . . .

  47. Hi, MISSY! Yes, we are super-super proud of our grandson! He has grown up so much in the past year!

  48. CONNIE, you do have to find just the right speed on the treadmill to keep from losing your balance without going so fast that your hands are bouncing all over the keyboard. I wish it worked better for me, because I sit WAY too much!!!

  49. Everyone, you heard it here--


    Don't everyone faint at once or we'll run out of smelling salts!!!!

    "A wife is the spice of life"? Hmmmm, I'll have to ask my hubby if he agrees. ;-D

  50. Congratulations to your grandson, Myra! I can feel your pride!:-)

    I see all the NaNo hype, and I smile as I continue on in my snail's pace, happy as a lark.:-)

  51. Okay, gang, since I am so inept at typing while walking on the treadmill, hubby is getting me out of my office chair for a while to go play pickleball at the health center. I'll check back soon!!!

  52. BIG ADMISSION HERE. I have a hard time with NaNo and Speedbo.

    I am my biggest competitor. Putting more pressure on me is not a good thing.

    I do better with weekly goals instead of daily goals.

    To each his own.

  53. Myra, you had me smiling in this post. :) You have lots of other SPICE in your life, adding NaNo might be too, um, flavorful, or filling. :)

    For me, I participated once, and I loved it. I was one who aimed for 2500 words/day 5 days a week. And I succeeded.

    But, for the last two years, I've been working on books. This year, I am using my writing time to revise my book. I don't have tons of time to write, so I'm prioritizing. I am hoping to be able to participate in Speedbo. Finally. If I get my book sent off before then. :)

    Thanks for the smiles today. Enjoy your pickle ball time with your hubby!

  54. Have to agree with you all. WHY ISN'T NANO in January. Clean slate and all.

    November is a desperate attempt to salvage the year. Granted, I respect that. I spend most of the last few days of every month trying to salvage the month.

    In fact. I'd say 80 percent of us on deadline--self imposed or not--get most of our goals accomplished in the last stretch of our deadline.


  55. Another confession: I had a Dunkin Donuts SPICE donut the other day. Amazing.

    They make cronuts now too!

  56. Myra, your list looks a lot like mine. Every year I consider NaNoWriMo, and every year I think about Thanksgiving and all the days I'd miss. Can you say flexible writing schedule come holiday time? I had to laugh at the semi-retired hubbie. I soooo know what you're talking about. I have strict instructions not to bother me when I'm writing, but...he just has to tell me everything. Why exactly did I need to know that he's going to gas the car?

  57. Great reasons for not participating in NaNoWriMo, Myra. My main reason is been there, done that. In 2010 and 2012 I met the challenge while working a full-time job. I committed to 1667 words a day with more on the weekends. It was fun, but this year I'm working on a few short stories instead...and putting up my Christmas decorations in November. :) I love when the house is festive.

  58. LOL I have never, ever done Nano and I doubt I ever will. I'm not a fast writer. Period. LOL

    Cute post, Myra. I'm with you!

  59. Myra...Intimadated? You intimidate me, whether you do 50000 words a month or 5000. Actually authors indicated me because they work so hard to i terrain me! Do you know how few timeS the letter P Is used in my voCabulary? VEry few, by the looks of things!
    Have a great day!

  60. Hi, Myra! I am loving your class with Dora. Vince's contributions each lesson are so much fun. I can't wait to see what his characters are going to say or do the next lesson. I am doing NaNo just to get my story written down. Once I get the rough draft of it done, I will feel like I've accomplished something. At this stage, this is what is working for me. Thanks for this great list!

  61. Hi Myra,
    I am doing NaNo again this year. Didn't do it last year and I can't remember 2012. But I did participate in 2011 and that's when I wrote my historical IRISH MEADOWS! I achieved over 60,000 words and was so into the story that I kept going for 2 more weeks and finished 110,000 words! SO helpful to me because it made me realize that I CAN write a book fast if I have a great story and the motivation behind it.

    Doing my version of NaNo this year. Needed 40,000 words to complete book 2 (untitled) of the Irish Meadows series. Things are going a little slow, but I've done over 13,000 words so far. Not bad! And we're lucky in Canada - our Thanksgiving is long over! No interruptions, except having to start Christmas shopping!


  62. Myra, the whole November-writing-50K thing throws me. Ha, not so much the 50K, but the NOVEMBER.

    Speedbo in MARCH is so much better. Not only am I not rushing to get Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving so I can watch Hallmark movies on Sunday afternoons rather than dealing with mall terrors <<>>, but springtime is a great time to plot out and draft a new book. Very energetic time of year.

    Plus, I have the wacko schedule at work these days. I love my day job, but really? Is a secretary supposed to do all the stuff that ends up landing in my office??? Especially when everyone else in the office wants time off during the holidays and someone has to sit tight and get the stuff done.

    Excellent points, Myra. I see good, solid reasoning behind each and every one!!

  63. Mega congrats to your son, Patti Jo! My son graduates in the spring. I'm feeling the anxiety of capping off that part of his (and all our) life with a memorable event. But unlike most who throw a party for the grad, both my kids requested splurging on dinner at The Rodizio Grill http://www.rodiziogrill.com/ a true eating tribute to the carnivore!!!

    LOLOLOLOL! Celebrate your son's accomplishments in style PJ!!

  64. Mark Abel and Mary Curry, I'm with you both!

    "Goals are good and deadlines are better, but insanity is for the insane."

  65. Don't mind me. I got all wrapped up in the NANO chill...

    Congrats to our new Naval Corpsman!! We're all proud of him, especially this Veterans' Day!!!!

  66. Vince, you always manage to bring a smile to my face as you share the thoughts rolling around in your brillant mind : )

  67. I'm with you, Myra! Every year I would register at the NaNoWrimo site. And every year I would beat myself up for not keeping up with the daily count, missing days and not making it to the 'finish line'. This year I said no. It's just too overwhelming when you throw in deadlines and family commitments for Thanksgiving. And I see we are soulmates. I can not write using the standing desk I splurged on. For some reason my brain just can't be creative standing up. I need to be nestled in a comfy chair with a cup of tea, lost in my own world. I'll just have to get up every two hours and take a stroll around the house, maybe throw in some laundry. Great post - I really enjoyed it!

  68. And on a random note....how many people get brilliant plot breakthroughs in the shower??

    Hand held high here.

  69. My reason for not doing Na-No is I'm lucky to get my writing time where I do.



  70. Myra and all Seekers,

    I prefer speedbo! I found more encouragement and help. So far with NaNo I have been encouraged to send in money, but no help or encouragement. I am not having a good month since i have become sick. Just went to the doctor and the sinus infection is now bronchitis, Even though they say to write 50,000, I was aiming for 30,000 before I got sick I wrote 1 chapter I didn't realize I would have to upload the book. Not sure I like that. Their web site is difficult to find my way around.

    I look forward to doing speedbo again next year.

    Thank you all for your help and encouragement!

  71. Back from pickleball and had a bite of lunch--chicken Tuscany soup, if anyone's hungry!

    MARY HICKS, we'll "snail's pace" our manuscripts together! I never was much of a sprinter!

  72. TINA! Weekly goals are really much more realistic. There are those rare days when I can easily write 2K or more. But often those are followed by super-slow days where I do well to eke out 500 words. So it all balances out at the end, and that's all that matters!

  73. Hi, JEANNE! Wow, congratulations on those 2500-words-a-day days!!! I know I'd never be able to do that many in a row! Yes, you do have to prioritize. Have fun with your revisions!

  74. CHRISTINE--laughing out loud here!!! Our husbands must have gone to the same "school of retirement"! Your hubby is probably afraid you'll notice how quiet the house is while he's out getting gas and then not be able to write because you're so worried about him. He's just being thoughtful!!!!

  75. JILL, you brave soul. I'm fortunate that I don't have to work at a full-time job AND try to carve out writing time, but there are so many non-writing things that still manage to fill up my days.

    Not sure we will do much holiday decorating this year since none of our kids & grandkids can make it for a visit. It's just not the same without family home for the holidays.

  76. JESSICA! A girl after my own heart! We will plod along together!

  77. MARIANNE, as long as writers have readers (and maybe even if we don't), we will continue pounding out the stories! Anyway, if my story doesn't entertain ME as I write it, I figure no one else is going to care about it either.

  78. SALLY, isn't VINCE a hoot??? Oh my!!!

    You know, we each must do what works best for us, and if NaNo helps you get words on the page, then more power to you! Whether you make the 50K goal or not, at the end of November you'll have more of the story written than if you hadn't committed to the effort.

  79. Hi, SUE! Okay, Canadians can do NaNo. Americans should try for JaNo or FebNo or MarNo (i.e., Speedbo).

    When you wrote Irish Meadows for NaNo, had you plotted and planned it out ahead of time?

  80. AUDRA, I'm glad you agree with me! And it's true--somebody is always stuck in the office keeping up with the work others leave behind when they take off for the holidays.

    Congrats on your son's graduation next spring! Plenty of time to plan a send-off event, right? In your spare time, naturally! ;-D

  81. Hi, CHRISTINA! I used to sit at a desk in a real office chair to write, but now I prefer to write in my Ikea chair & ottoman so I can lean back and put my feet up. It seems to be the only position anymore in which my brain will function. I should be getting up and moving around more, though. Maybe if I kept a water bottle nearby, the bathroom trips would take care of that. ;)

  82. TINA, maybe I should take more showers--LOL! My breakthroughs generally come around 4:30 in the morning, and then I can't get back to sleep!

  83. WILANI, I'm so sorry you're sick! Bronchitis is the pits.

    And NaNo wants money??? During Speedbo we give stuff away!!! (Well, we do all year anyway, but who's counting?)

    Feel better soon!

  84. Hi Myra,

    I'm doing NaNo for the first time and have discovered a new way to write without being bothered by the internal editor. I do one hour sprint in the morning, one hour sprint in the afternoon, and join Terri Main for her nightly sprints. I write for 15 minutes, pace around and picture the next part for the next 15 minutes, sit down and write for 15 minutes, repeat. I'm writing two books during NaNo. Adela's Prairie Suitor is a novella, about 25K, and The Predator's Web, A romantic suspense, about 50-60K. (You have to have a title in NaNo) I may not finish Web but I'll get in over 50K for both books during the month.

    I have colitis and can't tolerate any SPICE, but I guess Starbucks sells other flavors.

    Congratulations to your grandson. My husband was in the Navy. Happy Veterans Day to all those who've served our country.

  85. Interesting technique, ELAINE! And it has to be good for the body AND the brain to get up every 15 minutes. I tend to sit and stare out the window while I ponder what happens next. Maybe I should just stand up and walk around my office instead!

  86. Ooh, love me some SPICE lattes! ;)

    Great post, Myra. I'm not doing Nanowrimo this year, but I did participate in Camp Nanowrimo that they held in July. :)

  87. Myra,
    I know you're proud of your grandson! God bless our military heroes!!!

    I'm not doing NaNo. Have a book to finish and need to rewrite. So I've got my own deadline.

    But...when I'm in the countdown, I use my AlphaSmart and try to write a file in one day. That's 24-25 pages of text. It's doable. Takes about three hours. But it's rough and then I need to tidy up the mess. :)

    I'd like to tackle a whole book that way and see how quickly I can get a finished draft. Maybe I'll do that for the next one.

    Last sunny day in Georgia before the cold wave hits. I must wash windows. Doesn't sound like fun, but I can't miss my "window" of opportunity!

    Happy Veteran's Day to all our military!!!

  88. Hi, ANNA! What do they do at Camp NaNo? Do you get to go canoeing and fishing and stuff?

  89. Wash windows??? DEBBY!!! If you have any energy left when you're done, you can sure come over and do mine!

    Yes, God bless ALL our military heroes--and I know you have several in your family to be proud of! Love your military romantic suspense novels, too!

  90. TINA--i'm raising my hands high. I get some of my best ideas in the shower. :)

  91. I am not a NANO person - I always wind up feeling bad about myself!

  92. SHERRI, let's just keep writing at our own pace and let the NaNo-ers do their thing!

  93. First of all, congratulations and thank you to your grandson!

    Second, shout out to all VETERANS, military men and women....and their families.....THANK YOU!

    Third, SPICE!

    I signed up for NANO again this year.....and confess I've recorded ZERO words as of this day :(

    I laugh and AGREE with your #3, Myra. Gotta love him, but retired hubbies complicate the writing schedule. #2 works best for me. Yay, Seekerville!

    Thanks, Myra!

  94. Hi, SHERIDA! I echo your thanks to all the veterans and their families!

    Zero words today? Well, we all need a break from time to time. I'm plugging away on my wip, trying to write a minimum of 1K five days a week. Even with hubby interruptions--LOL!

  95. Oh, I still have little cuties underfoot and first time I could get over here, but so funny!

    Come on, tell me it was supposed to make me laugh, Myra!!! :)

    The plant thing. That's your downfall. I let them all die and buy new each year. Plants in the house annoy me, why prolong their agony? So I kick 'em to the curb.

    Husbands underfoot, now that I can see. As cute as they are, they talk and they do not come with an off-switch.

    Why is it that I can buy Fisher Price toys with an off-switch and yet men are not as fully equipped?

    Although I'm not above hiding. And I am a very good hider.

  96. I agree, November is a bad month for a book-in-a-month.

    Vince, I want a wife, too. Desperately.

  97. RUTHY, call me sentimental, but until last year's bugger of a winter, I had several plants that had been in the family for 30-40 years and moved all over Texas, then to Oklahoma and NC with us! That little schefflera in the picture is actually the tippy-top of a plant that froze back to nearly nothing last winter, and that little sprig all that survived.

  98. Oh, and yes, you were supposed to laugh, RUTHY. I'm glad you did!

    If you find an off-switch or a remote control that works on husbands, let me know!

  99. I've attempted NaNo twice and failed miserably. This was BEFORE child unit came along. Now? I shudder.
    I managed SPEEDBO because it was just getting some words down each day. Also, I completely fried my creative brain when I completed my Killer Voice entry in one month ( graphic design job all day plus frenetic writing each night = serious creativity drain). I also became "bad mommy" because my little guy couldn't have his mommy time during that stretch.
    I need to get back in the saddle and am slowly getting any word count in as I attempt to revise my ms.
    I know my limitations and my personal guilt trips (talkin exclusive resort quality) so I didn't take the plunge. I keep praying for Ruthy-esque discipline.

    Baby steps.

    Thanks for helping ease the guilt, Myra.

  100. Starbucks sells TEA too, Elaine.

    And for goodness sake, you are really putting the pedal to the metal. Good for you.

  101. Ask for money, Wilani???????

    Hope you feel better, btw.

  102. Anything I can do to help, DEB H. Some days it's all about baby steps. We can only do as much as we can do, and knowing our own limitations is always a BIG step in the right direction!

  103. I agree with you completely, Myra. I could not write 50,000 words in one month and certainly not in a holiday month. Does anyone know why they picked November (and not a 31 day month at least?)

    I want to add, though, that my niece did NaNoWriMo when she was 14! I really don't know how she did it but she finished it. Her dad published it for her and the whole family got copies for Christmas. It was quite good. I believe she might have done it one other time.

    My sister (the mother of this niece) just told me I should do it and I answered just like Myra: "It's 50000 words."

    Oh I do like SPICE in my beverages this time of year!

  104. SANDY, what a thrill for your niece! How fun for the whole family to have copies of her NaNo novel! Who knows--maybe someday we'll see her name on a best-seller list!

  105. I have one question about NaNo. Do you plot and plan out the novel ahead of time and just start the actual writing on November 1? I wasn't sure how that works.

  106. Myra, congratulations on your grandson! You should be a proud grandma. (I know you are.)

    I've never done NaNo because no matter how hard I try, I'm not a fast writer. Yes, a contract will push me to write faster, but it's not natural for me.

    1000 words a day is always my goal. I often (usually) don't meet it.

    I've come to terms with the way I write.

  107. Yippy for Myra's Navy grandson!

    I'm with you, Myra. No NaNoWriMo for me. Among the reasons ... wrong month. Plus I've found what works best for me (after much experimentation) and NaNoWriMo doesn't work for me -- but it's fantastic that it works for so many. I'll cheer them on.

    Nancy C

  108. It works any way you want it to work, but you still have to write the novel in 30 days, Sandy.

  109. Myra, congratulations to your Navy grandson.

    I am participating in NaNoWriMo. This is my third year. I completed and validated 50,000 words the first two years. For me, the structure and support are valuable tools. I like getting together with other writers for write-ins because it also helps me not to goof off and wander onto social media sites (I always try to read Seekerville as a reward for my day's work!)

    But NaNo isn't a good fit for all writers. It's important to know what suits you best as a writer, and you've nailed it on the head when you wrote that you strive for consistency by writing five days a week and know what works best for you, your family and your life.

    And I'm already looking forward to Speedbo. What I love about Speedbo is that it also takes editing into account.

    Thank you so much for the giveaway. This morning I wrote at Panera and enjoyed a pumpkin bagel with SPICE!

  110. Hi, TANYA! I'm glad NaNo is working for you--that's great! Congratulations on successfully completing the challenge twice already!

    We'll look forward to having you join us for Speedbo in a few months, too!

    Glad you had a good writing session at Panera!

  111. I don't Nano either. Last year, I challenged myself to write every day (which isn't always easy for me to do with my crazy life). This year, I upped the challenge to writing 500 words every day (last year, one day's total amounted to 2 words!).

  112. Well, I was going to do NaNo, but in not ready to write it yet. It's a Non-Fiction book about different women of the Bible and I have a lot of research to do.

  113. Your article was full of SPICE!
    cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg . . .
    Seriously, I'm right there with you on all 10 reasons.

    . . . frankincense, myrrh . . .

  114. I'm a day late because I took care of the granddaughters after work to give my sick daughter-in-law a break.

    I love participating in NaNo, and wanted to do it this year, but my dad had knee replacement surgery last week. I spent four days with them in the hospital and transitioning home. The thought of a daily word count would have added to the stress of those days.

    Your husband cooks? I've often joked with my husband he can't retire before me, but that might not be so bad.

    Thanks to your grandson and all the others serving our country.

  115. I was going to try wrimo this year…and just couldn't do it. Yes! MArch would be better (except for spring break). Maybe February and maybe only 30,000 words…see? I make all the excuses. And if my daughters want to hang out and talk . . . well, they will only be around another year or two, and the book will always be there waiting…sigh. Coffee with some SPICE would be nice though, even if I'm writing in slow motion.

  116. BECKY, congratulations on finding motivation to get some words on the page every day. The number isn't nearly as important as sticking with your commitment!

  117. Hi, BOOK GEEK! All the best with your research--sounds fascinating!

  118. EDWINA, you crack me up! Glad you had fun with my NaNo post!

  119. JACKIE, my hubby had knee replacement surgery around this time last year. Tell your dad to be diligent with the PT--healing and recovery go so much better that way!

    Getting my hubby to do the cooking was quite a long, drawn-out process. He was so uncertain about it for the first few years, asking me about every tiny detail! Now he's reading recipes and trying new things! Nothing fancy, but certainly edible!

  120. JENNIFER, you are so wise to keep those kids your #1 priority. I started writing when my girls were around 10 and 11, but when they were home after school or over the summer, I put the writing aside and stayed available for them. Those are years we will NEVER get back!

  121. Oops, I think I accidentally skipped over some comments from yesterday evening--sorry!!!

    SANDY, many writers who do NaNo spend some time prior to November to outline their plot and characters--whatever amount they feel they need to be able to sit down and produce. Of course, there are a great many "pantsers" who just start writing and see where the story leads! You have to know what will work best for you.

  122. CARA, a thousand words a day is nothing to sneeze at! We just keep plugging away!

  123. NANCY, I'm with you, cheering from the sidelines!

  124. Thank you for this post! My problem with NaNaNo is by the end of it, most of the story gets dumped because the writing is bad and the story derails in the name of word counts. I agree with the fast draft to get a story down but yes...when the focus becomes get those words on paper at the exclusion of everything else...including health...forget it. So nice to see your post about the realities of trying to juggle life with writing.

  125. Nicely said, Myra! I, however, jumped in without looking apparently! I'm a rookie in the whole author arena, let alone Indie
    When I'm [ahem] focused, I can readily [note, I did not say easily] hit 2K, and a few times did hit that elusive 3K or 4K in a day!
    So, I thought to myself, I thought, "Piece of cake!" Right? Anyway, I plunged in and forging thru - and I'll have a novella out of it, which will be the first in a series! Not something I ever thought I'd do, but who am I to argue with characters!!
    ps - I'll be looking for Speedbo next spring!

  126. Myra, thank you for relieving my guilt over my failure to complete NaNoWriMo. When I had trouble just trying upload my personal info and find friends, I decided I didn't have time for it. ACFW has its own novel track and I can participate in that as well. However, as you said, LIFE interferes with our huge goals. Using the overwrought cliche, "Variety is the SPICE of life," I'm writing and producing a Christmas play for the first time, and my focus and brain is wrapped up in that. It's still writing-related, but my WIP is not getting the bulk of my attention, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. Some people can multi-brain more than I can (like my awesome critique partner Sarah Tipton), but I can't, so I won't. Congratulations to your grandson!

  127. Hi, MINDY! Yes, that would be a big concern for me, too. I tend to edit as I write, which means I don't write fast. But when I'm done, revisions usually don't take too long. It all depends on how we'd rather spend our time.

  128. ROBIN, congratulations on getting those words hammered out! Whatever works to keep you writing--that's all that really matters.

  129. Hi, MARILYN! I'm not so good at dividing my attention between mss., either. If I take too much time away from my wip to work on something else, the momentum is gone, and it takes me forever to get back into the story.

    Have fun with your Christmas play! Can you believe Christmas is only a few weeks away???

  130. I love Starbucks spice!

    I'm not doing NanoWrimo cause of my job. I can't work full-time, work out, spend some time with my husband AND write a novel in a month!

  131. Someday I'll muster up the pluck and SPICE? to attempt NaNoWriMo ... Being around writers in the blogosphere makes me want to try to write my own stories ... :)

    Have you heard of Marissa Meyer? She writes YA fairy tale adaptations with a scifi/furturistic twist --her books are great and pretty clean. Anyway, she's used NaNoWriMo to write the first drafts of many of her books. I thought it was neat to see that published authors did NaNoWriMo. Previously, I only thought it was unpublished authors that participated (I have a couple of high school friends that normally do it). :)

  132. ABIGAIL, I hear you! I'd rather space out writing my books over several weeks or months rather than neglect everything else in my life for a 30-day stretch!

  133. ARTIST LIBRARIAN, I would have thought the same thing--that it was mostly unpublished writers doing NaNo. Interesting that the author you mentioned has written several of her books that way!

    Again--whatever works for YOU!

  134. Read the comments and though I've never been to their offical site, perhaps why NaNoWriMo is in November is because people make New Years resolutions to write a book and then they realize the year is almost over and they're only x words into their manuscript?

  135. Loved your post, Myra, and Vince's list gave me a laugh also!! Thanks!!

    I'm not a writer, so won't be entering NaNoWriMo and don't envy anyone having to come up with 50,000 words in a month. However, I agree that an accomplishment of any amount of words in the contest is more than would have been accomplished otherwise and applaud NaNoWriMo if it encourages more writing for us hungry readers to devour!! Diversity is the SPICE of life!!


  136. Myra! I'm trolling back through some of the comments - and just read yours about editing as you go! WHAT A HUGE RELIEF TO ME!!! That's how I write as well - and yes I'm utterly violating NaNo guidelines, but my writing just doesn't flow unless I keep going back over it. It worked for my debut novel - at 136K words [yikes!!!] - and yes, as you say, less editing after the fact!! Thank you thank you thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one!!!

  137. BONTON, we all live to see what profundities Vince will bless us with each day!

    And you're right--whatever word count we accomplish as a result of NaNo or other writing prompt is more than we'd have written otherwise!

  138. ROBIN, you are definitely not the only one who edits as she goes. We all have use whatever system keeps us producing.


  139. For me, it's definitely the word count intimidation, coupled with planning for the holidays. Thanks for making me not feel so bad!

    Ooh, I've never tried the pumpkin SPICE latte at Starbucks. Sounds good!

  140. Anything I can do to help, JENNIFER! :-D Thanks for dropping by!