Burning in NanoWriMo… Still a Happy Writer though

nanowrimo, failure, writing

One more day of NanoWriMo left… only 33k to go and I’m pretty sure I won’t do it. (o;

I decided to throw away the 1667 word count in favor of a 500 word a day goal. I was stressing at the beginning of November, wondering how will I fit in Nano while trying to ensure I still live the rest of my life. So as most of us do in today’s modern world, I turned to Google. So far it’s had all of the life answers I’ve needed and through some clicking and scanning I found one more. What I found was this site ‘http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com’.On here I found a blog post entitled ‘Smashing the fiction bottleneck’ and it really helped. I would recommend reading through it because there are other points in there to ponder but the one I want to talk about here is what the author Randy Ingermanson calls ‘The 500 Club’.

It’s pretty simple… write 500 words a day at a very minimum. It can be done within 30 minutes and is a solid number that will give you 182,500 words a year to polish and play around with. That is two or three novels. It’s a ton of short stories or novellas. Now I take this as 500 words of fiction writing so blog posts and the like are extra on top of that but it’s still a nice easy number to aim for. Like a lot of writer out there I work full time. I have another life not lived vicariously through words written and read. Writing is a big part of my life but not the only part and this is what Nano taught me, that until I make writing a full time career I can’t sustain 1667 a day, even for a month. Turning the dial down from 1600 to 500 has not only given me reason to relax a bit but I have found I have enjoyed writing so much more. I’ve even found that I’ve written more on some days, not hitting 1667 but 800 – 1000 words. Again, these are achievable numbers taking 30 to 60 minutes to write. It doesn’t feel like pressure and that makse a massive difference in both how I write and the quality of the words I produce.

I’m sorry if this sounds like Nano bashing because it is and it isn’t. Some people thrive on Nano, creating a whopping amount of words and love the process. I managed 60+k for camp Nano, but I wasn’t working full time that month so it was achievable. For others like me, I’d recommend joining The 500 club.

Eventually, given luck and a massive amount of hard work you can join the The 2000 club just like Stephen King writes about in ‘On writing’… the writers Bible as far as I’m concerned (o;

Now, some awesome resources I’ve been using over the last few weeks…

Horror Writers Podcast
Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
Copyblogger blog

This is not writing but he’s an awesome Australian Comedian named Wil Anderson. He runs a Podcast called TOFOP, funny as hell so once you’ve smashed 500 words take a listen… ‘http://www.tofop.com/



  1. When writing starts to become a chore, you know something isn’t right! Glad you found the enjoyment again – and a realistic daily target, too. Hats off to NaNoWriMo participants who hit the big 50,000 – I don’t know how they do it.


  2. You make good points. If I worked a full-time job, I don’t think I would be able to do NaNo, or at least not nearly as well as I did. I do homeschool and take care of two kids all day, and I won’t pretend that I don’t often feel like that’s a full time job. But let’s face it, if I were gone all day, coming home and shutting myself away to write every evening for a month, when not having seen my family all day, wouldn’t be the same as being with my kids all day and only neglecting my very understanding husband all month.

    It’s good to know your limits too. Now that NaNo is over, though I now have 2 100k novels to work on, I want to keep writing a little every day. I’d been revising so long that when NaNo started, I was almost surprised at how happy I was to be writing again. This is where my inspiration for that came from: http://inkygirl.com/inkygirl-wordcount-challenge/


    • Good site, thanks. I say what you do at home is definitely a full time job. Clocking in and out of a faceless company isn’t the only way to spend a working week (o:
      2 100k manuscripts is a pretty healthy writing work load to delve into.


  3. I’m not going to be a ‘winner’ in terms of a bunch of Nano swag- I’m going to be at around 40,000 words tomorrow night.

    But I am a Nano winner in that, after four or five false starts, I’m going to complete a manuscript. I don’t think I’d have done it without the Nano structure and the ‘put your butt in the seat for 1600 words every day’ ethos.

    Now that ethos is ingrained, and probably sometime in March what I hope will be the first of many novels that have my name in the author spot will be available for purchase.

    So thanks, Nano. See you next year.


  4. I seem to be writing around 500 words for the book I am into and poetry too. I did this sort of naturally. It is good to push through dark times for me as in there is hidden real stuff thks Patrick


  5. Randy’s blog is wonderful! I took one of his courses last year and loved that too. If you find time, if you haven’t already, his blog is full of useful posts, articles and information. Your new word count sounds reasonable for you, and that is all that matters. Good luck!


  6. David, Great post! I agree that Nano can put a lot of pressure, and for some, that does not make the writing experience a very positive one. Hats off to finding the number that works for you 🙂 (also, thanks for sharing resources.)


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