NaNo 2015 Update

Well, I won. I wrote 50,000 words in November.

On the evening of November 1st, after my son was in bed and the kitchen was cleaned up from supper, I remembered I’d joined NaNo at the last minute and I needed to do my word count.

Even though evening is not my best time for writing, I walked into my office and sat down at my desk. In less than an hour, I’d banged out just over 1667 words on the short story I’ve been thinking about for months.

That was easy, I thought.

Then: Why was it so easy? That’s never happened before.

On November 2nd, the same thing happened. At the end of my day, I just sat down and wrote the words I needed to write to meet my goal. I loved watching my little bar of words meet the slanting line that showed I was on track with my word count.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 5.28.12 AM

If I compared my previous NaNo wins (and attempts) to the story of the tortoise and the hare, I was always the hare. This year, I was the tortoise.

The first weekend of NaNo I didn’t meet my word count goals, but by the end of the next week, I’d caught up again. Toward the end of the month, I had more “no words written” days, but I’d already completed so many words I wasn’t willing to give up.

Luckily, I hosted a Write-In at my local library on November 28th, so I was able to really boost my word count while in the company of fellow writers.

Winning NaNo this year was a little anticlimactic. In previous years, I was behind (really behind) most of the month and the question of whether or not I could write 50,000 words in a month took up a lot of room in my mind.

  • When am I going to write?
  • Can I really catch up if I’m this far behind?
  • Why did I sign up for this?
  • Why did I tell people I was doing this?

This year, I just sat down and did it, day after day. No drama, no angst—just get it done.

For the first time ever, I was able to shut off my inner critic, my internal editor, and just write—which made the writing go much faster than my usual pace.

I haven’t looked back at what I wrote yet, but I doubt much of it is usable. But some of it will be.

And that’s the whole point, right? To have something to edit, rather than a blank page.

Which I do.

Thank you, National Novel Writing Month, and all my fellow Wrimos, who did it before me and with me.Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.20.54 AM

Now it’s time to rewrite!

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, and family physician. I’m ready to look back over the year and see what I’ve accomplished and what’s on tap for 2016. You?


32 thoughts on “NaNo 2015 Update

  1. Well ‘ I never, and you a GP, I wonder where you find the time, as here in the UK, the GP’s are up in arms about not having enough time off to do other thing’s, like writing. Ah well, you live and learn how the other half live, best Alex

  2. Congratulations and yes you did win. Tenacity and discipline are needed to meet a goal of writing 50,000 words in a month and you demonstrated both. I think I am in a zone of fear of writing my book. I have multiple pieces written, I’m continuing to do research and doing some of the other writerly requirements but I am mulling over stuff too much.

    Your post has given me peace and encouragement now let me see what I can do with your well written and encouraging post. Thanks!

  3. A writer, a life coach, and a family physician… with the second and third titles, when do you ever have time for the first? LOL!! OK, Doc, what I don’t see in your note is what you’re doing to stimulate your writing, to stir your mental kettle and let ideas rise to the surface. You know, when your patients sit lethargically on the couch, sedentary describes their physical state. Here’s wishing you an unsettling mental state, hopefully one you chose, in order to stimulate and refresh your efforts at the keyboard-and-screen. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  4. I’ve felt sort of depressed these few last days, because I never really have time to write. The weight on the shoulders of a wanna-be writer who doesn’t have time to write and re-write is tremendous. Glad you reached your goal, I admire you and cheer for you 🙂

  5. I didn’t actually sign up for NaNoWriMo, but I used it to push myself out of a state of petrification. I had just returned from a trip about which I am writing a book for my Masters degree, but the thought of now having to write a BOOK rendered me paralysed with fear and inadequacy. By pretending I was doing NaNoWriMo I made myself sit down each day, trying to keep to the roughly 1666 words a day. It made me stop thinking about whether I could do it and just get some words on the page. I now have 14,000 words and am feeling better about the whole thing.

    • thiskobblecreeklife… The way you’ve described your feelings about beginning your writing project clearly describes how I am feeling about my new writing project. Yet I know that you really have to just begin by writing, writing and keep writing. I have set a start date of this weekend and yes I will begin. You’ve further motivate me.


  6. ‘Toward the end of the month, I had more “no words written” days, but I’d already completed so many words I wasn’t willing to give up.’

    When I read this sentence, it was like a slap with a thick wet noodle. I’ve always known that I wasn’t the only writer who struggles with writing every day, seeing that someone else has experienced this and hasn’t given up made my day. Thank you for the motivational post!

  7. Pingback: NaNo 2015 Update | Imperfect Writer: My Journey to Finding Myself

  8. Congratulations on winning!
    I had signed up for NaNoWriMo too, but the pressures of my academic life didn’t leave me with enough time to get even a single word written. I really admire your resolve and will probably re-read this post next year in October to motivate myself to reach the word count goal.
    Good luck with the editing process!

  9. Congratulations Dianemackinnon! I wish I could write a very good story in English. I was and still am writing in my native language, lots, I had never counted but now I do. I like you Dianemackinnon. Merry Christmas!

  10. Congratulations & Thankyou for being so inpirational.
    I am an aspiring writer, I can easily churn out what was known as ‘compositions’ during my school years. I write blogs with ease – but the challenge of so many words in a set time, sends me into abject panic!
    I am ‘old school’ & still prefer to write on paper, rather than on a screen, but have decided that maybe it is time to change my ways! You have inspired me to begin writing in earnest, purely for myself, but without the fear factor.
    Thankyou x

  11. Congratulations on winning! ^_^
    It is really cool to hear from someone who has completed NaNoWriMo. I’m the type of person who starts off strong but always tapers off towards the end. Your post is very inspirational, thank you.

  12. Good to hear you made it! Yeah I was also a Nanowrimo winner. I think you really honed in on the key to success here. It’s not glamorous and it starts looking and feeling like work, which I think deep down is the thing all writers truly despise, but there it is” stone that the builder refuses” and all that, I guess. Anyway, keep working!

  13. Congratulations!!! I had every intention of doing NaNo, this year as a way to finish up my first book but then I came down with a neck issue. I really love your site! My first time here. Look forward to future stuff!

  14. Congratulations!
    I am very happy to see a writer win.
    It was my first NaNo and I could only make it to 19,000 words. Let’s see how much can I write the next year.

  15. Pingback: Setting goals and reaching them late… one way or another | Write on the World

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s