What I learned from NaNoWriMo 2013

2 December 2013

This year, I did something different for NaNoWriMo. I realized on October 31st that I wasn’t going to have an idea for a story this year, and that I didn’t want to work on something that I’d already started. So I decided to do something completely different: 50,000 words of blog posts.

I love blogging, but I often drop off the face of the planet for months at a time due to other deadlines. Maybe a book is due, or maybe a deployment at work is taking up all of my brain space. What I need is a backlog of blogs to pull from.

Most of my blog posts are between 1000 and 3000 words, so doing NaNoBlogMo could net me around 25 blog posts that I could post in the upcoming year. Also, I had some teaching material that I needed to crank out, and what better time to crank it out than a month dedicated to getting words on the page?

So, how did I end up doing?

Not every blog post that I wrote ended up going onto my site. I blog on other sites, some for exposure, some for money, and some for community. But I got a good number up this month! Also, some are going to sit in my drafts folder for a while, so I have a nice backlog to fall back on.

I ended up selling a good number of blog posts. It turns out, when you can hand someone a list of posts you want to write that month, they happily start laying claims to the ones they like.

I also expanded beyond blog posts, outlining a few stories I’d had in my head for a while. I don’t plan on quitting my day job (like, ever) to write fiction, but it’s still a hobby I enjoy. I’d like to finish a longer piece one day.

The good times

Some of these blog posts have been rattling around in my head for over a year. I just never had the motivation to sit down and crank them out.

Sometimes I knew they would be emotionally difficult to write. Others, I knew that I’d have to structure carefully so that they didn’t come off as a me foaming at the mouth. Most of the time, though, I thought ‘eh, this won’t get that many hits’ and opted for not writing anything at all (which, of course, gets zero hits).

When you’re in a crunch, though, you’ll take whatever you can get. Emotionally harrowing? Good! Those rake in a ton of words! No hits? Who cares? That’s another 1000 words towards the daily goal! Feeling uninspired? Time for a rant! I know! Let’s come up with a regular feature that uses up a bunch of words!

Also, if you like to sell blog posts, nothing sells better than having another one lined up to go. “Oh, you liked that one about Kivy? Well… how about a primer for Python?!” “Say, you enjoyed that post about checklists? How about one about using your screen reader?!” I sold a pretty crazy number of posts this month, something I’d been meaning to do more.

The stuff that worked

I found skipping around worked quite well. There were few posts that I sat down and wrote all at once. In general, I would write a few hundred words on one blog post, then switch to a different one. Often, the themes would be completely different. I’d write for ten minutes on Python, then ten on knitting.

I also kept a list of blog ideas. I used the Google Keep widget on my phone for quick access and wrote down every idea that came to me.

Also, every idea got a chance, no matter how silly. If it didn’t work out, well fine. I gave it a chance. Many of them ended up working out quite well, though! A blog post I wrote about hating purse shopping got thirty-two comments! What the heck?

I wrote about everything, as well. I often meant to write up reviews for books I read, but usually stopped at giving it stars. I’ll write something up later! When you realize that a review could easily be a third of your word count for the day, though, you don’t wait. You barely put the book down before you start pounding out a review.

Switching techniques helped as well. Sometimes, I used the pomordoro method. Sometimes, though, I needed to just get a certain number of words down, so I’d write until I hit a goal, then watched a Let’s Play on YouTube (I wish I could tip Snapwave / Whycalibur and GetDaved. They saved my brain so many times).

Also, writing early is better than writing later. I fight for every word I write after 3pm. Coffee does not help. I just end up not writing faster. Then, I end up being awake until 11pm (shut up, I am an old, I have an early bedtime).

The dark times

It’s not NaNoWriMo without getting stuck. And I got stuck a few times.

Everything was going great until I hurt my thumb. Do you know how much you use your thumb when you type. You use it a bunch. Writing 500 words felt I like writing 5000 in one sitting.

I caught up, only to be hit by a bout of the blues. I knew I could catch up, but my energy levels had just taken a serious dive. I’d write a bit, think I’d written at least a quarter of the day’s total… and it would be less than 100.

But one of the great things about doing NaNoBlogMo was that it became incredibly meta at some points. I wrote about my depression, and about stupid things derailing my writing. It added words, and I was able to reach out to others in the same position.

Also, getting a dog in the middle of November? Totally distracting. But hey, at least he gave me new things to blog about.

The final tally

Posts finished: 34 Posts sold: 4
Posts started (but not yet finished!): 2
Posts abandoned: 0 (I’m proud of this! I actually managed to make something of everything I started!)
Longest post: Technically, not a post, but class material for a class on HTML5.
Shortest post: A post warning about not putting off your weekend writing until Saturday, which I totally ended up doing. Cue the sad trombones.
Outlines started: 2
Total words written: 50,048 (That’s right. As soon as I hit the finish line, I stopped and went out for drinks)

Next year: An idea

I had a ton of code in my posts. Because I wasn’t going to bother parsing them out (and because you count every word when you Nano), code ended up counting towards my final total. This actually inspired me to write more coding examples in my posts, rather than say “Trust me, it’ll work.”

This got me thinking about doing a 50,000 words exercise on a project. But Katie, I can hear you wailing, more code isn’t always better! You should have less code! You’ll just end up with copypasta!

I wouldn’t just be counting code, though. Ideally, code would make up the minority of my word count contributions. What would the rest be? Why, all the crap I always promise myself that I’d do, but never quite get around to!

For example, I can write blog posts about the project to hype it up a bit and gather feedback. I can write actual documentation to go with it. Hell, if I want more words, I can make sure the documentation covers Mac, Linux, and Windows!

Or maybe I’ll finally write that great American novel I’ve been meaning to churn out. I do have that outline for the Steampunk Cyber-dystopia coming of age young adult novel in my Google docs… I guess you’ll find out next year!

Share

Related tags: writing

Comments

1 plerjrovs says...

lls Sunder injury;

銆€銆€Long bell eight bands: Skills for the batter damage +;

銆€銆€Nine ancient order: Skills for the damage bonus +;

銆€銆€Ten bands Bodhisattva spirit: + damage reduction skills.

銆€銆€In addition to these special skills, each upgrade an order P <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/>hollister uk</a> fine.

銆€銆€The investigation, Sanya Easy Way Fat Coconut Farm does exist two menu.As the Spring Festival goods prices, the farm owner ordered dishes price updates, in-store presence of two menu.Guests when ordering, the waiter will not update to the gu <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/>pointsuk.co.uk</a> €銆€Third-order by nature: + crit skills;

銆€銆€Fourth-order Ling Zhi: + armor skills;

銆€銆€Figure cents kinds of first-order Pu Tizi

銆€銆€Fifth-order treeless: + combo skills;

銆€銆€Order six wonderful: Skills for the crit damage +;

銆€銆€Seven bands dimethoate: + ski <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/>pointsuk.co.uk</a> llow-up matters.(Michael Bell) (Stringing people: Otto)

锘?

銆€銆€WASHINGTON (intern reporter Zou Wei Shi Yuting) Yesterday, the Provincial Quality Supervision Bureau informed the "first half of product quality checks case".Among them, the average pass ra <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/abercrombie-usa/>hollister uk</a> ods with food, a meat dish, complementary.

銆€銆€Recommended practice: liver fried spinach

銆€銆€Lamb & Ginger

銆€銆€Role: winter tonic to share, can cure cold sore lower back, limbs rheumatic pain.

銆€銆€Principle: The lamb can warm up blood and kidney, rheumatism <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/tag/hollister-cologne/>hollister uk</a> gery, surgery may be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the size of the operation range.Professor Liu Jun said that if you choose general anesthesia, the entire surgical procedure in the United States who will sleep, if you cho

http://do-it-yourself-best.net/images/tmp/1394277521_uk83... http://www.cdsp.com.cn/userfiles/uk2810.html http://lugrich.info/images/tmp/1394277341_uk637.html

Posted at 1:03 p.m. on March 9, 2014

2 plernroqm says...

Ole supermarket is the case, the country's only seven-star hotel Wanda Ruihua hotel is also true, especially high-end supporting Han Street.But surly a few dollars a pound of vegetables does not have to live in it is?

銆€銆€I walked along Lake Internatio <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/tag/hollister-sweaters/>hollister uk</a> analysts said Lei Jun careful, your opponent come true.

銆€銆€:

銆€銆€Huang Lei Jun between chapters in the end what kind of pains and sorrows, let Huang chapter coming out at the beginning, you miss the?As head of Meizu, Meizu yellow chapter can lead the r <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/>hollister uk</a> istration number, processing business name, address and registration number, product storage conditions and production date information on the Malaysian bird's nest products exported to China's internal and external packaging.

銆€銆€Visit

銆€銆€Where nests p <a href=http://www.isabelmarantsneakersbuystore.com/isabel-marant-blossom-ponyskin-and-suede-sneakers-p-10.html/>isabelmarantsneakersbuystore.com</a> ears only on.BES Kyrgyzstan Nanjing Garments Co., Ltd., also said they spring, summer, autumn and winter clothing is very distinctive characteristics, spring has on January on the shelves, the summer will have to wait until the "" before the shelves <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/>pointsuk.co.uk</a> ant has been allowed to appear in court shaved head wearing No. clothing

銆€銆€-year-old boy was caught crying writing a love letter: do not tell the truth to become the wife of someone elseZhejiang "Tyrant" buy amphibious tanks To participate motocross <a href=http://www.pointsuk.co.uk/>hollister uk</a> e National Federation recommended the establishment of a sound education and training system to improve the overall quality of private successor.By integrating government, training institutions, private enterprises tripartite resources and strengths,

http://www.vosa.com.vn/userfiles/uk1494.html http://www.cf-girl.com/home/hosting_users/tkdjqtmddls2/ww... http://www.healthcorners.com/userfiles/media/uk2160.html

Posted at 1:52 p.m. on March 16, 2014

3 plerzrorn says...

was tall and straight nose becomes joy for a while, can then be found in the nose redness, but the nose is growing.

銆€銆€December , Zhao Jia returned to the hospital for examination, the doctor diagnosed as wide nose rhinoplasty surgery, rhinoplasty is <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/>isabel marant sneakers</a> s can stay days in the Seychelles.

锘裤€€銆€The nose is the face of the entire face of the king, for the entire face shape has a key role.Especially with the current development of medical cosmetic technology, rhinoplasty has become one of the most popula <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/isabel-marant-sneakers-c-2.html>isabel marant sneakers</a> choices a lot simpler; warm cold alternately, so spring and winter sales along with a handful of fire.Yesterday, reporter learned from Wuhan several local shopping malls, seven days Spring Festival holiday, Wuhan usher in the mall Horse Sales opener <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/isabel-marant-boots-c-1.html>isabel marant boots</a> of female breast cancer should have regular screening for breast cancer every year.High cure rate of early detection of breast cancer.Breast disease inspection once a year, will reduce the chances of developing breast cancer than half.

銆€銆€For female p <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/>isabel marant sneakers</a> ind the eyelid surgery.

銆€銆€Miss Liu, who lives in Wuchang streets I was born with a single fold, she hopes her eyes as bright eyes gaze like Fan Bingbing, lovely.So in Wuhan, a cosmetic eyelid surgery done agencies. Who knows, after surgery she looked <a href=http://www.comunidadeweb.com.br/UserFiles/woolrich/>Woolrich Outlet</a> are soft with hard, but we also have a soft nose, different parts of the hard, a lot of people do not pay attention to this, materials selection and matching is not appropriate, the place of the hard-soft material, the local hard material of the soft

http://www.youmain.kr/upload/180/temp/20140315004019265.html http://www.sobewff.net/userfiles/hollister-outlet1062.html http://www.psbergamo.it/upload/all/Media/hollister-online...

Posted at 6:20 a.m. on March 21, 2014

4 feifncbda says...

Have a great day!I'm very pleased when see your post.I quite endorse your viewpoint.I will continue to attention on your blog.I believe that the future I will see more about your splendid views.

<a href="http://cheaprayban.tragicomics.co.uk/">tragicomics.co.uk</a> <a href="http://cheapraybanjackieohh.mirefugio.us/">cheapraybanjackieohh</a> <a href="http://fakeoakleysunglasses.baylorinc.us/">fake oakley sunglasses</a>

Posted at 9:06 a.m. on March 23, 2014

5 plererofx says...

skin for long hip infection also occurred at the nose.Yesterday, the Chongqing Evening News reporter learned from the City Court, the hospital recently identified faults in the hospital, hospital compensation Zhao Jia final judgment of $ . million.

銆 <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/isabel-marant-sneakers-c-2.html>isabel marant sneakers</a> y go to one place in Bali, the most not to be missed is the lover Cliff.Valentine Cliff has two attractive features: traditional Balinese dance and everlasting sunsets.Balinese people believe that dance can be intimate contact with God, so every time <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/>isabel marant sneakers</a> ion

銆€銆€Taxi drivers on December to , to OUYAD furniture, Redstar, home park, near the center of the provincial radio and television Ping elf cultural industry base, traffic channel back door and people Dispensary Xiangya shop, shop Dongtang and other <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/>isabel marant sneakers</a> Park to allow people can see fireflies dancing scene in the city, from the introduction of Guangxi ten thousand fireflies.However, these beautiful insects only spent three days in Qingdao, half dead.In this regard, there are a lot of people ask, so s <a href=http://www.sunnahmart.com/>isabel marant sneakers</a> hildren self-esteem, the Family Support funding handed it over, determined to rely on their own.

銆€銆€Her daily : to pick wild bamboo leaves, bamboo shoots cut from Gukeng village board to ride kilometers to the west of Huwei market to sell, but also w <a href=http://www.folketshuskungshamn.se/mail/hollister-usa.php?=990>hollister usa</a> al title: "Tropical Fish" in addition to "Black", passengers shouting "pretty")

锘? 銆€銆€Pictured counter ladies have been hanging out in a mall to attract customers skimpy summer. photo

銆€銆€The sky is still snowflakes, actually can not wait to sell the mal

http://www.sccs.pl/upload/hollister-online-shop1479.html http://www.jazzcannons.co.uk/media/hollister-uk/abercromb... http://www.jivinmissdaisy.co.uk/hollister/abercrombie-in-uk/

Posted at 2:25 p.m. on March 24, 2014

6 MichaelKt says...

brilliant graphics!

my website - http://drugstorepdfsearch.com/

Posted at 1:23 p.m. on March 25, 2014

7 WalterLymn says...

shoe lift inserts insoles may be prescribed once the tendon is impacted by illness or injury or perhaps once the muscles are underused and the tendon begins to tighten involuntarily

http://zegermanrcummin.com

Posted at 4:23 a.m. on April 11, 2014

8 #gonnick[TTITTTYIZTYT] says...

It can be okay if you are unclear about what you would like to target in class. Every key has needed lessons such as math concepts and english language that are standard for virtually any level. Getting most of these primary courses initial can provide you with enough time you must pick a key, while getting all of your current essential programs out of the way. <a href=http://nikeairmax909.iconosites.com>nike air max 90</a> People looking to get a cash advance could be wise to pick a financial institution that features a no-inconvenience coverage in terms of assessments bouncing. Some creditors could have a big penalty fee for a bounced check out and some do not have punishment in any way so be sure you choose the best one. <a href=http://nikeairmax909.iconosites.com>nike air max 90</a> Make certain your post is short and easy to read. Creating a web-based write-up involves an alternative set of regulations than had you been composing for a newspaper or journal. Will not involve any filler written text, thus making each of your factors clear. You wish to appeal just as to the two a visitor who does not understand the matter, plus a visitor who has some expertise from the field. <a href=http://nikeairmax909.iconosites.com>nike air max 90</a> If it's been a little while since you purchased new golfing shoes or boots, make sure to verify reviews in playing golf mags and on-line prior to heading out buying. You will end up surprised at all the new engineering improvements in playing golf shoes currently. By reading testimonials and searching at pictures of the new designs and types, it will save you oneself lots of time and frustration and locate the optimal pair of golf shoes. <a href=http://nikeairmax909.iconosites.com>nike air max 90</a> Don't stay continue to when anxiousness is on its way on. When you sit and brood about concerns, your nervousness can increase easily by leaving you not able to functionality. On the beginning of any stressed feelings, stand up and have moving. Go walking, operate or physical exercise in some manner. You can expect to acquire your mind off the unfavorable problems and permit your brain to reset. When designing within a strict budget you should think about areas where you will save funds. As an example, if you love the hue of your flooring, yet it is tarnished, you may have it expertly washed as opposed to replaced. This will save you hundreds or even lots of money by itself. <a href=http://nikeairmax909.iconosites.com>nike air max 90</a>

Posted at 1:39 a.m. on April 12, 2014