Finishing Strong #NaNoWriMo

Hi, SEers! Mae here, with the welcoming message the insanity is almost over. Just today and tomorrow, and NaNoWriMo 2021 is a wrap. November 30th is right around the corner!

Black wooden standing calendar shows only month and day with Nov and 30 in big block letting on desk

So how did you do?

At this point you’re either:
Typing like mad to reach 50K before the clock runs out.
Hit 50K earlier, and you’re sitting back with a smug grin.
Managed word count but nowhere near what you hoped to achieve.
Tossed in the towel but are glad you took a shot at participating.
You’re not going to hit 50K but made a good showing and are pleased with your results.

Thirty days of writing is a tough go-round, especially when you’re juggling other responsibilities—families, jobs, pets, Thanksgiving (for those in the U.S.), social media, and more. Regardless where you fall in the above list, you’re going to finish strong.

Sure, we’d all like to declare ourselves NaNoWriMo “winners” (or say we hit word count out of the ballpark if doing your own write-a-thon), but the reality is not everyone reaches the magic number. But—and this is a biggie—if you invested any time over and above your normal writing practices during this month, you gained something you didn’t have before.

Maybe you penned new scenes or chapters. Maybe your effort is barely salvageable (been there, done that), but you should never view any time spent writing as a negative. NaNoWriMo 2019 was a disaster for me. I hit 50K and “won” the month but was left with a cesspool of a manuscript. I had several good characters and a decent setting, but when it all came together—CATASTROPHE! I chalked it up to a fun (and stressful) experience and vowed someday I’d trot my characters out with a different plot.

Then something strange happened.

You know how they say distance brings clarity? In my case, it took two years of distance. Lately I’ve been thinking what I once viewed as a rickety manuscript, has a pretty solid foundation. I’m planning to glean through the mess I made and rewrite the story. In retrospect I actually like it. Just goes to show that finishing strong doesn’t always mean hitting a home run.

Now it’s time to fess up. How did you do? NaNoWriMo participants, did you hit 50K? Whether you’re an old timer or a newbie, did you enjoy the experience and would you do it again? If you didn’t participate, how did your writing go this month? Did you take advantage of all the writing mojo zinging about online?

Drop some thoughts in the comments below.

Ready, set, go!  

bio box for author, Mae Clair

50 thoughts on “Finishing Strong #NaNoWriMo

    • Hello! I’m glad you found our Story Empire blog. As for participating, you could always set your own month of choice and strive for 50K, and—-there’s always next year when the blogosphere and writing community will be abuzz with NaNoWriMo mojo all over again. In the meantime, I wish you happy writing and thank you for visiting!

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  1. I’m one of those writers who goes back over the previous work until I’m fairly happy with it before moving on. Even, then, I still glance back and tweak. Perhaps NaNo would break me of the habit, but it’s how I write and I don’t think I could settle any other way. On the other hand, hearing how much people have accomplished in one month is truly inspiring and, yes, whatever you write is a step in the right direction and I’m in awe of people’s accomplishments here. x

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    • I’m the same way, Alex. I edit as I work, and constantly go back over what I’ve written previously before moving on. The only time I allow myself to veer from that path is during November and NaNo. For some reason, I can turn off the editor for those 30 days. The rest of the year, I settled in my regular routine, LOL.
      I agree that so many writers made great progress with NaNo. It’s inspiring to see the results, and it is definitely fun to participate. Even if you don’t “win” the month (I haven’t won since 2019), it’s a cool experience for writers. You can always give it a try next year if you feel like giving it a go! 🙂

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  2. I didn’t do NaNo this year. After 2019, I vowed I wouldn’t do it again. (Never say never.) I did focus more on writing this month and had my best word count so far this year.

    I agree that any progress is progress. A writer doesn’t need to reach 50K to succeed. So glad you’re going to dust off that 2019 manuscript.

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    • Fantastic news about your word count, Joan! November is a great time to catch up on writing whether you’re doing NaNo or not. I’m so glad you had a successful November. And like you said–never say never, LOL.

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  3. Congratulations on your progress, Mae. The second half of 2019 NaNo was a mess. The first half is salvageable. I’ll look at it again sometime. This year, I stopped at 13K in mid month to prepare for my daughter’s family coming for Thanksgiving. I made sure the routines of the little ones were not interupted. 😊

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    • It’s always hard doing NaNo with Thanksgiving in November, Miriam. My efforts got put aside as well, and I’ll finish the month with a little over 22K. Since I was working on a WIP, I don’t have the mess I did in 2019. Hopefully, I can add to my word count and maybe even finish my WIP in December. That’s what I did last year, so I’m going to hope or a two-fer with this year, LOL.
      I’m glad the first half of what you wrote in 2019 is salvageable. It sounds like you’ve got a project for the New Year!

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  4. I did NaNo in 2019 as well and ended with a train wreck. I still have the characters and the scenes. But the entire story needs to be rewritten. I didn’t do NaNo this year, but I always root for my friends to “Win” NaNo. My goal is to start the new year off better than the old year is ending.

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    • I’m looking forward to starting 2022 with a better plan for writing too, Michele. First up is my own “train wreck” for my 2019 NaNoWriMo. It’s going to be messy, but I think I’ll jsut pullt he bones out of it. I may change the whole plot, but I know I’ve got some basics and characters I can work with.
      Like you, I’m cheering on the NaNoWriMo participants this year. I’m not going to finish with a win, but it was fun to (and productive) to write!

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  5. I totally agree that any writing is a win, Mae. I hit about 46,000 words and finished my WIP. I’ve been scrounging for those last 4k words – writing poems, a short story, a few blog posts, a letter to my aunt and uncle, grocery lists. Lol. I have 500 words to go. I’ll make it, but I completed my true goal (the WIP) a few days ago.
    And you’re right that sometimes we just need to let a book simmer. 🙂

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  6. You inspire me, Mae. I thought maybe, just maybe, I would participate in NaNo, but life had other plans. I’m so impressed by your progress and your discoveries. Bravo!! 😊

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    • I’m definitely not going to “win” this year, Gwen, but I’m excited about the progress I have made. I’m even more excited by the prospect of tackling my “catastrophe” manuscript from 2019 once the new year rolls around. Hopefully, by that time, I’ll be finished with my current WIP and can refocus.
      Onward! 😀

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  7. I was able to give it a brutal week to edit and I got through it. I don’t think I’ll try that again in such limited time. It is nice to get extra done though! Congrats on participating this year 🙂

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    • Congratulations on your accomplishment, Denise! I bet you feel great!!!
      It’s always fun to participate even without winning 50K. I count last year’s NaNoWriMo as one of my best and I only added 35K to my WIP—but I finished it in December. When I started, I only had 14K, so I considered it a victory. November definitely motivates me to write, LOL.

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  8. No NaNo for me, and not as much writing as I’d hoped for either. Too many interruptions. But I’m plugging away at it and making progress. Not as fast as I’d hoped for, but steady wins the race. (I hope). Congrats on everything you DID accomplish.

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    • Hi, Sue! I’m not going to “win” NaNo this year, but I have made strides in my WIP and for that I’m thankful. Any writing is progress!
      Congrats on making progress with your own WIP. I love the writing mojo of November!

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    • My NaNo came to pretty much a screeching halt too, Jill. I started strong then did a complete nosedive. Now, I’m just trying to add what word count I can before the month is over. I did, however, manage some other writing-related things this month that I’d been putting off so I super excited about that!

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  9. I didn’t even get started. The intention was there, but between my blog tour and my son’s football schedule, it was over before I began. Lol! My hope is to try to begin writing again in December. Fingers crossed! I’m happy you found something shiny in your rough manuscript, Mae. I can’t wait to see it once it’s polished and presentable. 🙂

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    • Blog tours always take a LOT of energy. I can’t imagine tackling NaNo while doing a tour, then juggling family matters on top of it! I’ll be cheering you on in December, Yvette. My NaNo was a bust too, but I still made good progress, and I am really excited to return to that 2019 “catastrophe” LOL!

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    • I know there are sure to be a lot of success stories out there given all the writing mojo that was happening in the blogosphere.
      Hopefully, a lot of writers made progress with their WIPS whether or not they participated in NaNo!

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