Tags: NaNo

NaNo: The Finish Line

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: December 3, 2012
Comments: 2 Comments

I did it, dear readers.

I didn’t sleep much this past month. But I managed to write 51,210 words in 14 chapters during the month of November. Only a couple more chapters to go and I’m done with Part II.

I couldn’t have done it without you. It helped tremendously to know that you’re out there and knew of my commitment, perhaps cheering me on. Thank you for being part of our writing community, helping make writing possible.

I’m hooked now. I’m going on with 500+ daily words in December. The first 1,460 are already down. My goal is to finish as much as I can of Part III in December. Stay posted for an update at the end of the month.

In the meantime, know that I too am cheering you, my fellow writers, on.

–Sabina I. Rascol

NaNo: Plodding Faithfulness

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: November 21, 2012
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One crazy late late night in 2007 I logged nearly 4,000 words  of good writing in less than two hours. 

When I did NaNoWriMo some years ago, I made myself write somewhere around 10,000 words each day for a couple of days toward the end. The days were wide open, it wouldn’t matter how bad the words were, and it was then or never. The words splattered on the page, the quality somewhere between bad and terrible. But I did it. I met my production goal, wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Knowing what I do, though, about the quality of the story, I haven’t looked at those words since. 

As things looked at the beginning of this November, I had good margin in my life, with some days open just to write. I knew exactly how it would go. I was going to repeat what I had done before, but at the very beginning of the month. I’d blast out tens of thousands of words in the first couple of weeks, and then coast easy–or keep charging, wildly exceeding expectations!!–toward the end of the month. 

It didn’t work out that way. Writing was painful and it was hard to enter “the zone.” I kept hitting and glancing off the surface of the water, as it were, rather than being able to plunge through and effortlessly FLOW beneath the surface. Oh, flow might happen eventually, but it was long and laborious work getting there. The words inched along. 

I came to be very grateful that I had come up with an extremely small daily minimum for myself: 500 words every day but Sunday would make me a success. I cannot tell you how many times I would have given up had I set a “real” goal, like 3,000 daily words. But even if it’s late, I’m tired, and have nothing to give, I can still, even if laboriously, chug out 500 words. My real hope was that the 500 would take me into flow and swimming effortlessly beneath the surface until I’d emerge miles away. But when flow did happen, it never resulted in mega numbers. 

So where am I? At 26,000 words. Meaning, just past the halfway point though we’re two-thirds into the month. Meaning, behind.

I am choosing to consider myself a success, though. I have 26,000 more words than I did before toward my deeply-felt novel. More importantly, I have been faithful. Every writing day I sat down and wrote my 500 or more words. And I’m continuing to do so. 

I don’t know how this NaNo story will end. My schedule has ballooned, these latter weeks of the month, all margin pretty much eaten up. I can’t count on beautiful open days in which to write myriads of words. Besides, this time I am seeking to produce readable writing. 

It’s OK. I’m writing on. 500 words after 500 words, eventually I’ll get there. 

-Sabina I. Rascol

NaNo: Rules for Engagement

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: November 9, 2012
Comments: No Comments

At the end of Day 8 of NaNoWriMo, I’m just past 9,000 words. It’s not as far along as I planned and hoped, but a respectable start nonetheless. It averages to 1,300 words a day, as I take one day a week off. 

As I began, I realized that I had the following rules for myself for this challenge. 

-Write ON. Don’t write slop, but don’t get mired in revising and polishing. 

-Write the book. Don’t write about it–WRITE IT! (This has to do with a document I usually have open in which I write thoughts for later. Sometimes I write pages there and nothing in the manuscript itself. For now, I’m keeping notes about the book to a minimum so that I advance with the book proper.) 

-Light revision, if any, is allowed only to the previous day’s work. Ideally, I’ll look only at the tail-end of the previous day’s work to pick up the thread of the story. 

-Write every day (except for Sunday, my current day of rest).

-500 NEW words a day, minimum. So if I add words while lightly editing, those words don’t count for the day’s minimum (though of course they count toward the month’s 50,000 word ultimate goal).

-Write during the first available stretch of time each day. Use all time bits. Don’t despise them. 

-Live in the world of the story when I’m away from the writing. That way, my mind makes connections, has details and bits of story in place, for when I return to write.

-Know that if I stick with it, flow happens. When it does, ride it! : )

So what are your Rules of Engagement for your current writing project? 

-Sabina I. Rascol


by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: November 1, 2012
Comments: 1 Comment

I’ve decided. I’m doing NaNoWriMo this November. 50,000 new words in 30 days. I’ll post periodic updates on how it goes.

If you want to do it too, leave a note. Going public may help you stick it through.

And to inspire you, here’s an absolutely excellent pep talk by Brandon Sanderson about ways you can use the writing tool called NaNoWriMo.

Here’s looking at you!

-Sabina I. Rascol

P.S. If you’re wondering what soul searching prompted this decision, pull up my last blog post here.

NaNo: Will You Take Up the Challenge?

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: October 30, 2012
Comments: 1 Comment


A couple of weekends ago I attended Wordstock, Portland’s annual literary festival. Catch it next year, if you’re in the area. It was good, Saturday especially. I reported to ScrivaNicole that it felt like a writing conference but without the hefty price tag ($10 for two days’ admission, plus $35 or so per writing workshop).

One of the fun Wordstock writers was Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus. What is your writing process like, she was asked. Messy, she answered. She writes a lot more than she uses while figuring out the story. And she mentioned how NaNo helped her years ago to just write.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo) takes place every November and is open to anyone. It’s a simple challenge: write a 50,000 word novel during those 30 days and you’re a winner. It doesn’t have to be a good 50,000 words. The novel doesn’t need to be completed. It just needs to be 50,000 new words you write between November 1 and midnight on November 30. The idea is to make an awesome start on a novel that you can later finish and polish. Some writers, Erin Morgenstern among them, have gone on to publish novels started during NaNo.



At Wordstock I ran into a new friend from Oregon’s Literary Arts. She is a poet who’d once mentioned writing for young readers. How is that going? I asked her. She e-mailed me a couple of days later. Thank you for your question, she said. It had prompted her to revisit work done in the spring and discover she in fact had written an entire outline for a novel. She decided to write that book during this November’s NaNo.



Inspired now by her as well as Erin, I looked at my own work-in-progress, a novel in three parts. Could I get myself in gear to press on and WRITE OUT a good chunk of it during NaNo? I’ve done NaNo once, so I know I have it in me. But I’m weighing priorities.

This is where I stand. For Part I of my novel, I have 16 polished chapters and 8 bad ones. These are chopped out of previous drafts, spit out and slapped together so I have a place from which to keep going. Ideally, I’d first revise these chapters and then kick out Parts II and III.

How will I use the writing month of November, when words waft on the air as writers galore type away? Revise those eight chapters? Or officially participate in NaNo–for which new words must be written–by moving on to a rough draft of Parts II and III? Either will mean significant progress.

What about you? What will you write this November? If you decide to take up the NaNo challenge, here is a pep talk Erin Morgenstern herself wrote for NaNo 2011 participants to get you started. Find more pep talks and nearby NaNo events, plan your novel and track your progress, via the NaNoWriMo website.

-Sabina I. Rascol



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