I Failed NaNoWriMo!

Ahoy, NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriNo (National Novel Writing Month) is only a few weeks away. This is the third consecutive year that I’ve gotten excited about completing a 50,000-word story in 30 days.

This year, however, is a bit different.


In October 2014, I had convinced myself that I would pen urban fiction, and yes, I would do so under a pseudonym. Stripper poles, plugs, and lust wrapped in good storytelling. I was ready to do something new and a bit raunchy! Truth is, I f-a-i-l-e-d. I only made it to 3,523 words. For me, that’s about one good writing day.

Good news: I’m committed to writing this story one day. I like the main character (she’s country) and her trajectory to self-discovery. Who says that urban lesbian fiction can’t be done right?

In October 2015, I believed I was all geared up to write a post-apocalyptic story featuring a Black lesbian couple that is (seemingly) alone in the world. I landed at a whopping 3,717 words! Work, obligations, and other good stuff got in the way. So, I tucked that file away and it hasn’t been touched until today. I spent just enough time with it to spot the word count for this post. The women in this story are both introspective characters who may be pulled apart by forces beyond their control.

Good news: These women will share their story, even if for the span of novella.

October 2016 has arrived, and this time around I’m not gunning for 50,000 words. I don’t even plan to write. What I will do is devote the month of November to thinking. I will think about the story that I want to tell, and when I’m compelled to do so, I will plot. And when the urge to plot drives me to write, I will pick up a stack of index cards and record the scenes that are playing in my head. I will focus on characters, their names and motivations, their interactions and journeys. I will listen to what they’re saying and try to capture their exchanges before I’m distracted by something else. I will give each character a card and allow her or him to have white space— that is until I can add lines that bring value to their characterization.

Is this a manifesto?


Whatever the case, I feel good about this plan.

2 thoughts on “I Failed NaNoWriMo!

  1. Morning Lauren!
    I enjoyed reading about your NaNoWriMo experience over the past few years. The thing that I admire is that you tried. Many writers never voice the vow and walk out on a word count of a thousand words. I’d say that figure was much less.
    In truth, I love that you never gave up, that you’re embracing the month on your own recognizance in a very different way. To me, your way speaks of the quality that you represent for those of us who know you. So by all means, do carry on. I can’t wait to read your novel on my Kindle Fire.
    Now as for me, I’m going to do it. Yep, it’s on, for the first time. I can’t even say I’ve tried before. What I have done was accomplish writing a poem a day for the Poetry Writing Month. And I’ve a manuscript to prove it, though I’ve not had the time to rewrite and revise the manuscript to walk towards publication. Yet, as this reply stands as my witness, I will do it between right now and next year, 2017.
    Y eso es una promesa!
    Not only that, I’m accomplishing my goal of completing the first draft of a novel manuscript this month with the help of my participation in an online University of Iowa course. At the culmination of that course on November 22 or at the month’s close, I will have my first draft of a novel manuscript. Even as I write my reply here, I am excited! I’ve been up all night, finishing a 5,000-word chapter for the class, and I am elated.
    No, I don’t know what I have until I finish, when I can begin the rewriting process. But just knowing that I AM going to do it inspires me!
    So yes, Lauren, you can do it.
    And I hope that you continue to share with us as you go.

    1. I so look forward to your finished product. I applaud you for taking on the challenge. I wish I could do it. The optimistic in me felt like I could in 2014 and 2015. But the realist part of me has said, “Pull back, focus, and bite what you can chew.” So, that’s why I’m going to do this month!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *