NaNoWriMo, Women's Fiction, writing, Writing Challenge, writing group, Writing romance

NaNoWriMo 2017 – I did it!


Taking part in this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) hadn’t even crossed my mind – until the author Susanna Bavin suggested it.

Susanna, who has appeared in my Behind The Book series, wrote a blog post featuring quotes from her writer friends about their experiences of NaNo. Having completed it in 2015 (just), I added a comment and thought that was the end of it.

It wasn’t until a Twitter conversation later where Susanna invited me to be her buddy this year – and some of her friends and mine encouraged me – that I first thought ‘maybe I should do this?’ I talked it through with Mark because I knew from last time that I would need his support if I was going to manage it. He was all for it (I moan about him but he’s a good one really), so I signed up.

Did I mention it was already October 22nd and NaNo starts on November 1st? Not only that but I was just about to head off on holiday for half term week so not much time for prep. I decided to continue with the book I’ve been working on for Friday 500 – and luckily I convinced my writing buddy, Kate, to join in.

We began our Friday 500 project in September 2016 (the idea was that we would email each other a minimum of 500 words each week of our respective novels). It’s worked really well. I’ve had a lot of fun trying out different things. I’m writing third person but alternate between characters. I started with two main characters, went up to three, went back down again and then tried writing first person. I also realised that I really REALLY needed to have some sort of plan. So I stopped and spent a solid couple of weeks plotting and then I started again, almost from scratch.

By October, I had two chapters and a really quite detailed idea of where my story was going but I would have happily continued to plod along had Susanna not offered to be my buddy for NaNo.

I was really excited to get started. I didn’t include any of the words I had already written but, because I had spent so long thinking about the story (even dreaming scenes some nights), the words really flowed. I was still getting up at 5am and writing some days so I could get my word count up but, unsurprisingly, having Freya at school all day this time was a big help.

Nano stats

As you can see, some days were better than others. I realised at the start that I really needed to get some words in the bank because there were days, particularly weekends, where it would be a struggle. Once I had that safety net it pretty much sailed along. I even managed to finish a couple of days early – unlike last time when I was almost still typing up to deadline.

I actually found it quite emotional writing the final chapter, maybe because I had actually written all the chapters before it (I only had six and an ending last time and the rest were scenes).

What’s also been really great this time is having a supportive group of writing buddies to talk to via Twitter DM every day. Writing can be a lonely pursuit but they always gave me something to smile about.

And here it is, my certificate (isn’t it nice that it goes with my blog colours). I think even those who didn’t reach the 50k are winners. We all had our own goals but more importantly we all wanted to write – and that’s what we’ve done.

NaNo-2017-Winner-Certificate 2

Thank you very much to everyone who has supported me – and especially Susanna. I’m very excited to have an actual draft. Now on to editing.

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo this year (or in the past)? How did you get on?





14 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2017 – I did it!”

  1. Yay! You’ve done so well! Really glad you convinced me to do it too. Whilst I didn’t hit the magical 50,000 it sped me up massively to get to the end of the manuscript and showed me it was possible to make writing more of a priority. Looking forward to reading yours over the next few weeks!! PS. think would rather die than get up at 5am – you have serious dedication!


    1. Thank you, Kate. I have to admit that it’s Freya who gets up at 5am but we take it in turns to do the early shift. Instead of sleeping I just used mine to write 🙂


  2. Oh well done you! I did think about it but with a baby to look after I just knew I wouldn’t complete it this year. I’m definitely going to try and set myself an achievable writing challenge in the New Year though as I would love to get back to writing fiction and have an idea for a story rattling around in my head. #MMBC


    1. I can’t say I blame you, I tried it with a two-year-old the first time and that was hard enough. You might like Friday 500. Just 500 words a week 🙂


  3. Oh wow what an amazing achievement! Congratulations!
    Having a buddy to do it with sounds like the right way to go and to make it even more fun.
    I was going to give it a go this year but I decided I wasn’t brave enough, maybe next year!


  4. Woohoo! Amazingly well done. I won the November one 2 years running and also did Camp Nanowrimo in the April and July last year. Am pleased with self as started Memoir on I think 11th September and just handed it in to agent today: 80,150 words! 💃


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