NaNoWriMo Recap

For those of you who have been asking, “What exactly does it mean that you ‘won’ Nanowrimo?” or “What is Nanowrimo?” this post is for you!

NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” It’s been going on for almost 20 years, as I believe it got started back in 1999. I remember people talking about it in college, but I didn’t start participating until 2012 when I first started writing “The Orb and the Airship.”

But what is it? It’s a challenge to writers to write 50,000 words in a single month on a single project. This does not mean the book has to be completed by the end of 50,000 words, or even that you have to start at the beginning (and some “rebels” will spread that 50,000 words across two or more projects). You “win” if you manage to hit the target of 50,000 words, and they have an official “word counter” so you can verify your win. (Though, as a side-note, their word-count tracker and Scrivener’s word-count tracker are SIGNIFICANTLY different from each other).

According to my “recap post” I wrote 6 years ago (which also, oddly enough, was ALSO my first post here at this domain name!) I managed to get 21,000 words written that first time I tried it, and I was pretty firmly convinced that I was never going to manage a win.

I’ve dabbled with NaNo ever since. The siren song of all my author buddies furiously writing all month long and posting their word counts is a temptation that is difficult to resist. It just makes a person want to jump in and join the creative fun. However, November is such a busy month, what with my birthday, Thanksgiving, and holiday travels and fun. I’ve never managed to do more than dip my toes in the water.

This year, however, was almost tailor-made for me to participate. We did not travel anywhere, we had no guests come visit us until the very last day of November, and Derek’s been out working at the house every night laying tile, leaving me home alone with a couple of hours all to myself each night after the kids went to bed… AND we all stayed fairly healthy all month long!

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Week 1 (partial week): I did pretty well the first day, then fell behind on day two, only writing about 200 words. (You need to write approximately 1667 each day in order to stay “on track” with their counter. The rest of the week was better, but I was behind the tracker. Didn’t feel too stressed about it, though, as I still had the whole month to catch up.

Week 2 (first full week): Got caught up and stayed a little ahead for the majority of this week. Was feeling pretty good about myself.

Week 3: Lost all motivation, took the weekend off to celebrate my birthday and had a very difficult time forcing myself to write this week. I managed not to fall TOO far behind, but this was where I started to doubt whether or not I could keep up the grueling pace.

Week 4: The laid-back nature of school and our simple stay-at-home as a family Thanksgiving allowed me the time I needed to get caught up and even ahead this week! The end was in sight, but I also knew that I only had 29 total days to write, because we had family coming into town on the 30th and I wanted to spend SOME time cleaning up the disaster-zone that my house had become after several weeks of neglect (hey, when you’re a writer, some things just get neglected… for me, it’s housework)!

Week 5 (Sun – Thurs): Spent a lot of time praying over my writing this week, because I had hit a bit of what I thought was a snag. With the Lord’s help, I got it ironed out. I helped host a virtual write-in on Thursday evening (which was scary, but fun) and with the bump in adrenaline that gave me I managed to hit just over 50,000 words by the end of the evening!

So that was my experience winning NaNoWriMo for the first time ever! It was fun. I’d do it again – but the circumstances would have to align perfectly like they did this year so I wouldn’t have any reason to feel guilty for neglecting my family. Sure have changed my tune since six years ago, huh? *grin*

Also, today in celebration of SIX YEARS of blogging, I’d like to offer you all a FREE copy of Minstrel’s Call on kindle (if you do not have a kindle and would like a PDF or .epub copy, shoot me an email at and I’ll send it to you in that format as well – you need to send the email to me by DEC. 7th – the day the deal ends on amazon - in order to redeem this offer).

~ jenelle



The first time I uploaded my approx: 50,000 words, Nano said I had written 49,502 words. The second time I did it, it said I had 52,666 words. Scrivener said I had 50,147 both times. LOL

Deborah O'Carroll

Yeah, NaNo usually thinks I have fewer words than Scrivener or Open Office (what I write with) says I have so I usually plan to write an extra few hundred words… *cough*


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