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Thoughts from A NaNoWriMo Loser

The Rippled Red Ribbons of SNR 0509

The Rippled Red Ribbons of SNR 0509; Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

 Winners & Losers

All you have to do to win during the national writing month of November is to enter 50,000 words or more into the National Novel Writing Month website and you get access to a little banner that you can display on your website or comments around the internet. Presumily, the words have to be coherent to readers of the English language, but I have no idea as to what extent this is checked. In a fascinating blog at ‘Terrible Minds’ Chuck Wendig puts forth the idea that since those who complete the process are all winners, everybody who falls short must be a loser.

Running Against The Grain

Despite popular opinion and the advice of other NaNoWriMo writers,  those who finish still have a long ways to go until they arrive at a completed manuscript. In fact, for many authors, the work may have just begun, for numerous revisions may be needed before a workable draft can be attained. Unfortunately, to truly understand what is involved in reaching this final stage, it is usually necessary to partake in a substantial trial and error process involving numerous friends, relatives, writing groups and interns, who work for literary agents. (These people are the ones who usually get stuck reading the premature submissions from aspiring novelists)

Half Way Point

Presently, as the first week of December is drawing to a close I can feel myself approaching the half-way point of my next great literary creation, which I have temporarily dubbed the Painted Cow. (More about the storyline later) At this rate, I may finish my handwritten first draft by the first of the year, especially since the last month of the year has a long holiday at the end and comes with the longest nights of the year, which are a definite boost to accomplishing major writing goals.

Slower Is Not Necessarily Better

So far this post may appear to favor those who take their time with the wrting process. This approach has many merits, but also some major drawbacks as well. One of the advantages of completing a first draft in 30 days is spontaneity and freshness in your writing. More than one literary sage has put forth that writing with great abandonment is a good prelude to challenging creative writing. For one thing completing a novel in a short time keeps you focuses on the subject at hand and may be a hedge against plotline drift, which is a little bit like ‘Continental Drift’.


So before I end up joining the procrastinators club, I will be trying extra hard this month to finish what I started. This will be an interesting internal struggle that will play forth as the month unfolds.

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