Halfway Into NaNoWriMo 2021

Hello everyone! Today, I thought I would share my progress through NaNoWriMo, as we’re almost halfway through the month!


In case you’re wondering “what the heck is Na-what?” I’ll tell you! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is the name of an organization that promotes the activity of writing a novel in a month. Traditionally, the way to do “NaNo”, as it’s commonly referred to, is to write 50,000 words of a brand new novel in 30 days. The point is not to have a fully complete final draft, but to just write the damn thing!

This year, I’m editing the 80,000 word first draft of a novel I wrote earlier this year. This is my first edit both for this book and ever. I’ve done NaNo multiple times, and have both completed and failed the challenge many times over the years. But this is the first time I’m doing a “rebel” NaNo project, which is basically doing anything but starting a brand new novel. Here’s how that experience is going.

Halfway into NaNoWriMo

So I’m writing this a few days ahead of the 15th, and right now I’m sitting at about 34,000 words. My goal is locked into 50,000 since that is the default NaNo goal, but I do want to stay as close to the original 80,000 words goal I had.

I will say, that I knew I was going to regret not prepping more. My original goal for “Preptober”, or prepping for NaNo in October, was to read my entire novel without editing or making notes once through, then reading it without making edits but writing notes of what to change/check/update as I went along. I did none of that, since I kept trying to rewrite as I went along. It was so tough! So I quickly gave up on that, instead just watched a few videos on YouTube and read a few blog posts about editing a novel, and then went straight into rewriting it on November 1st.

I will say, I still don’t fully understand what the “right” way to edit is. But I suppose it’s different for everyone! My approach to writing a new novel is different than others too after all. I pretty much only write in NaNo style where I just write and write and don’t worry too much about grammar, spelling, continuity, etc. For editing, I’m trying to be more conscious of this and make the big changes, but I’ve also noticed a few details that don’t match on certain characters. For instance, one of the characters said he and his brother were kicked out by their parents at 18, but then a few chapters later is talking about having lived in an orphanage until he was 18. That didn’t make sense at all! So I do want to go back and keep track of everything that is revealed about the characters as time goes on. I do have a copy of a character profile sheet I saved a long time ago that I think I’ll try to use!

In general, I think that the novel is too boring. I simultaneously think it needs to be longer and but needs some scenes cut out. Maybe the actually just need to be replaced! But, as it stands, there just isn’t a lot going on. The entire first act is really short, as it only takes place over a week while acts 2 and 3 are a few months long, but then I feel like it’s rushed through and not a lot is revealed about the main character. I also feel like I focus way too much on the plot and not enough on the characters. It’s really a strange thing writing fiction for an audience versus writing just to write.

At this point, I’m thinking I should maybe try to take a writing class though my local community college so I can learn more. I think I should be able to do it for no credit, which would make it cheaper and make it more for fun than an actual class, but at the same time I know I can find great resources online for free if I just sit and focus on it. If anyone has good resources to share, let me know!

Something else that is different this time is that I have a writing buddy! It was meant to be a writing group through the local library but so far I’m the only one that has shown up. So, so far it’s only been myself and the librarian. Originally the idea was to spend the first bit chatting about the week’s progress, then write the rest of the time. But we’ve often ended up just chatting about NaNo and other stuff in general so that’s been fun too! Hopefully we do get more people showing up for the last few sessions though.

So that’s how NaNo 2021 has been going for me this year! Let me know if you are participating and how it’s going if you are!

Thanks for reading!


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