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NaNoWriMo: Where ‘trying new things’ is more than a dating site catchphrase


The first weekend of NaNoWriMo is behind me and I left a trail of 5,359 words to prove it. This means, not only am I on track to meet that 50,000-word goal by the end of the month, but I also have embraced a new excuse for not doing the dishes!

This is no moment of modesty: I’ve impressed myself!

The quantity of my words probably outweighs the quality. No. The heft definitely outweighs the quality. But I’m good with that. I’ve got a story unfolding (slowly, maybe too slowly. But a future draft can rectify that) and characters that feel like they could turn into real, solid people post-editing.

However, I’m not totally sold on the tone of the novel so far. I want it to be lighter and funnier. Maybe I need to change my typeface?

More importantly: I think I need to simply try some new strategies and stretch my comfort zone: Go about writing scenes with a different voice. Turn down the dialogue, turn up the monologue, see what my main character does when she’s alone behind the wheel of a car on the horribly boring prairies.

I’m not sure what’s different about NaNoWriMo that didn’t occur to me pre-November, but I feel like a door has been opened for me to try whatever I want in the world of novel-writing with no consequences (imagined or otherwise). I don’t have to judge my work, or doubt my abilities in a new genre or even show any of my work to anyone ever if I don’t want to. It’s a good feeling. It’s a blank canvas, an empty field, a clean kitchen! So many metaphors! (I could start adding some metaphors to my novel!)

What I am getting at is NaNoWriMo has already been a valuable experience for me writing. Maybe it would be for you too?

Update: I am such a fan of the latest NaNoWriMo pep talk, from writer Catherynne M. Valente, who says, “You can be good and fast at the same time…You’re going to spend these 30 days at the computer anyway. You might as well be mindful while you’re there.” Read it at

An early outline of a forthcoming scene in my NaNoWriMo novel.

An early outline of a forthcoming scene in my NaNoWriMo novel.

Filed under: Blog, Writing, Writing Tips

About the Author

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I am a writer living under a pile of scrap paper and unopened fan mail from the cable company. I believe a messy desk is simply a sign of inspiration waiting to be uncovered. But I’m biased. More from me on Twitter: @zoeywrites


  1. Pingback: Reimagining the rough draft | Zoey Duncan

  2. Pingback: How about 30 days of blog writing in November? | Zoey Duncan

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