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NaNoWriMo: Progress and Perspective

For this blog post, we have decided to shake things up a bit and give you all a little glimpse into our individual NaNoWriMo experiences. We do this in hopes that you will not feel alone in your writing endeavors. Obviously, our experiences cannot encompass all writing experiences, but we hope that you will find a sliver of yourselves in our stories.

Day 12:

Twelve days in and I am ready to throw in the towel.

I have this vision in my head that loses translation on paper. The novel in my brain reflects the end of autumn, when the leaves have finished showing off and fallen to the ground, leaving the trees bare for winter. I can see hues of warm amber and gold tones filtering through fictional blinds in a living room I’ve decorated in my mind. Van Morrison plays softly through the empty home. My characters are broken individuals who cling to each other in order feel life. They are dependent and filled with shame. They are fictional, yes, but they are real to me. All of it is in a way.

Yet something is lost when I sit down to write. I blame sleep, laundry, and the impossibility of the entire French language for my lack of time and passion. I’m annoyed by my own ideas. They feel like indie, hipster nonsense. I want to believe my writing is important to me, to someone, or to no one at all. I delete and rewrite, never receiving the 5,000 word medal.

I fear I am missing the point completely. The point being to simply put words down. Who cares if they are good? Who cares if they make sense? Who cares if they create more questions than answers? Whatever comes from this month is purely for me and my personal growth. It is about developing a routine in my writing, sitting down at a computer and ripping ideas from my mind without fear or hesitation. I genuinely want to be comfortable filling a blank page.

Am I supposed to feel this way? Slightly elated by the idea of creating, but then horribly defeated with what I create? It feels so “starving artist” to be self-deprecating. Like I should be wearing a beret, smoking a cigarette, and drinking sustainably-sourced coffee when I complain on this level.

This is all probably part of the process. Or at least, part of my process. At this point, I hope my process manages to squeeze out 10k words by November 30th.

-Stefanie Hammond





For the longest time, I’ve been one of those writers where if I’m not feeling it, I’m not writing it. I write better when I’m emotionally invested. So, when I hear about this thing called NaNoWriMo, I’m half excited and half terrified. I’m excited because it gives me an excuse to finish my novel. Who cares that I’m at 48 thousand something words already? My personal goal is to finish my novel. And I really want to finish what I’ve started with my characters. They both deserve some type of ending. Even if it’s not a happy one. Let’s be honest, I’m really looking forward to a sad ending, or at least one that leaves knots in my stomach. I’m tired of happily-ever-after endings; I’m not in high school anymore.

I’m terrified because I realize on the twelfth day of November I’ve only touched my novel between six and eight days. I’ll get about two hundred to five hundred words and say, “Okay, I’m good. I hit my mark for the day.” I realize my whole issue for the longest time is that I think way too much when I write just to get more content down. It’s the best thing in the world when you’re really diggin’ a scene and you start typing it out and you get lost and the story kinda takes the reigns. Writing is so much easier when my characters tell me what needs to happen. But when I’m just writing for content, I’m too hard on myself. I start at the beginning and write to the end – therefore my thoughts start to spin, and logic pushes creativity aside. I’m not that person who can sit back and just create scenes that I see happen down the road that I can fit in later like a puzzle piece.

During NaNoWriMo I’ve been writing when I’ve got the time – because let’s face it being a Creative Writing major, I’m working on three other writing assignments, studying for French, and reading my sixth eighteenth century novel this semester for a lit class – and punching out some words that make sense and I know later I won’t have to trash all of them. That’s probably the wrong way of doing NaNo but I hate making double the work for myself.

If this weren’t NaNoWriMo I wouldn’t be in my dorm room for one. I would be twenty minutes down the highway back at home in one of my three favorite spots. One highly possible situation would be sitting on my bed with the lights out, door closed, and music playing. In order to get away from reality and back to the reality in my novel. I use everything I can to help focus in on the characters’ lives and not my own. Usually if I’ve got something good, I’ll finish typing a chapter in three hours. I call it a success when the characters pull me in a different direction than I originally planned. But I don’t write every day and it’s not planned.

So NaNoWriMo is hard because I have to force myself to sit in my dorm room and write words that seem more block shaped than waves and colors and emotion. But I write on because my goal is to finish a novel I’ve been throwing around and changing for the past three years.

-Madi DiMercurio

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One more day until NaNoWriMo commences!

For some writers National Novel Writing Month means a month full of hope and new opportunities, while for others, NaNoWriMo signals an intense 30 days of writing hustle. Hopefully you’ve spent the last couple days mapping out your future, November endeavors, but if not, no need to worry!

You may suddenly realize that you don’t have a solid novel idea, or it’s not developed enough to start banging on the keyboard. Sit in a Walmart for a day. Write down what you observe. Make up the backstory. Just write. It doesn’t have to be mind-numbingly brilliant. It’s for you and you alone. Use your words as therapy.

It is important to view NaNoWriMo as a blank slate filled with opportunity. This month, these 50,000 words are for you. Your taste. Your style. Your desire to put words on a page.

If you have a working novel idea but you don’t have a complete outline in your head, you can always skip around and come back to the plot holes. I repeat, you can skip around! Don’t worry, it’s not just you who falls victim to the idea that you must write in chronological order. If a middle scene comes at you, start writing. If the climax or pieces of the end come to mind, write that, too. It doesn’t matter if it’ll be changed later. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to set a goal and force yourself to stick to it. Stop procrastinating with those binge-worthy Netflix shows and start writing your own binge-worthy story!

Don’t write novels? There is still a place for you in NaNoWriMo. The ultimate goal of November being to simply get words on a page; poetry, short stories, or song lyrics. Whatever you put on paper, however it gets there, just push yourself to create.

For years, I thought I belonged in a mental institution or needed professional help because, seeing a shoe discarded on the side of the highway, I would formulate an entire journey and story for the shoeless hitchhiker it belonged to. My friends didn’t do this. They thought about “normal” things, like bills and 401k’s. I realized that while I loved my friends, there are significant benefits to being around other writers.

There is effortless breathing in community. A place to gasp and loudly declare, “I do that, too!”

So please, consider participating in NaNoWriMo. Even if that looks like showing up to a Write-In to eat snacks and talk about story ideas. We want to see you!

Our first Write-In is Nov 8 from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. in room 333 in the LARC on Lindenwood University’s campus. We sincerely hope to see you there!