5 Reasons I Failed NaNoWriMo, … but I still feel like I won

5 Reasons I Failed NaNoWriMo, … but I still feel like I won

  1. I didn’t plan beyond the first week. I had a list of prompts and scenes, for if I got stuck in a rut, but I didn’t use them. I am getting way too comfortable in the familiar of the rut. I need to commit to climbing out of it faster!
  2. I got sick. And then I got sick again. Flu and then stomach bug. Which meant all life subsisted on the minimum. I slept a lot and am now getting my diet and exercise back on track better than before. Feeling good 😉
  3. My excellent accountants needed all my tax info for the two countries I’ve been resident in lately. So happy they are organised and got it done with plenty of time to spare, but bye bye November and spare cash. On the plus side, I’m now budgeting a more frugal lifestyle, which means more cash for the stuff that really matters, I.e not takeaway lunches.
  4. We moved house. Yeah that’s kind of a biggie. Especially, when half our stuff was stored with my parents, and the other half at my grandma’s, and boxes arrived from England just in time. It’s been really special setting up the place the way we want and getting comfy in our own space again. Rediscovering beloved items and keepsakes brings a lot of joy.
  5. My husband and I are newlyweds, and given the choice of writing or being loved up… on top of all the above demands on my time and health? I naturally chose the latter. Hey – I’m a member of the RWA. Why only read and write about Romance when you can live it! Love you Mr Hamby xx

Lessons learnt and all that about commitment, making time and not biting off more than I can chew. But I am 7k words richer than I was in October and have ticked off some of the major life goals and admin that coincided with NaNoWriMo, which to me is a big WIN!

How did you go with NaNoWriMo?

Posted by jhamby in Blogging, 2 comments
NaNoWriMo 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m in!

Can’t believe I’m signing up for this again. It would be amazing if I could beat what I managed to get out last year: 12,670. That novel has since grown to a 49,708 word beast that is no where near finished the zero-th draft and needs a lot of chopping. But I can’t chop until it’s all out. So that’s my goal this November. Wrangle the rest of the beast onto the page so I can set it aside for a while and then start editing!

I have a few mini goals before NaNoWriMo starts that centre around what the Romance Writers of Australia offer. I am an aspiring member of the group. Joining up was one of the best things I’ve ever done (Thank you Allison Tait for the encouragement). The group is so supportive – with email loops and Facebook groups and more. The courses give amazing feedback, I’m learning a lot about the craft and commitment. I am currently writing a science fiction novel with romantic elements, so it’s great that you don’t have to be a full blown romance writer to join.

My mini goals for NaNoWriMo Prep are with RWA:

  1. Selling Submission due 30 October

    The RWA have competitions! This is my big task for the week. The beauty is in the feedback. There are so many amazing writers in this group aspiring, emerging and established, I have to be in it to learn!
  2. In the RWA e-loop we also do BIAW – Book in a Week – a mini-NaNoWriMo – where we set our word count targets and are accountable to each other. I need to get in another 1500 today to reach my goal of 2000, because I got distracted reading obsessively during the week. Oops ;)That’s one of the things I find about writing – you need to read (for the love of it and to boost the creativity & industry knowledge), but you need to read in moderation, so you still have time to write. I don’t always get the balance right. Reading all Saturday long is fun… but then you don’t get any words written at all. It’s inspiring though, right?

Come join me on the NaNoWriMo website! My username is JessicaMHamby – same as everywhere else 🙂


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The end of NaNoWriMo 2016

So I got 12,670 words. NaNoWriMo 2016 got off to a halting start and fizzled to a stationary end. 

I’m Grateful. Disappointed. Excuse-making. Proud. Conflicted. Whirl-pooling. My general anxious stressing heady self.

Stop. Breathe. That was my November motto. December is kicking off with: kindness and compassion – to myself as well as others.

So what happened with my Nano? It is a new story. It picks up a lot of old ideas I’ve played with over the years; synthesises them into something new. Science fiction. Post apocalyptic. Teenage. 

I’m still excited about it. But I got stuck and busy and I parked it. 

I don’t know which end of the thread to pick up again. Maybe I could break it up into small chunks? Try tackling it in small pieces.

The big thing is, I need to commit. I need to take this seriously. Either this nano story or the other novel idea I’ve been working his year: the time travelling romance. Or both in alternating fashion.

That sounds hard in someways and easier in others. I often read a couple of stories at the same time, keeping track of the different characters and plots, switching to whichever I feel in the mood for. Why not write in the same way?

Has any writer-blogger here tried working on two story ideas at once?

Did you win NaNoWriMo?

p.s. Come join me on Twitter as I join Al Tait in the #writeabookwithal hashtag. Keep the NaNoWriMo spirit kicking.

Posted by jhamby in Blogging, 2 comments

Nanowrimo 2016 

I recently read this article titled ‘3 signs you should give up on your story’ by K M Weiland. In summary, the answer is RARELY.

But after sitting on the same idea for more than ten years and getting lost over and again and losing motivation over and again. I’ve called it. I may return to it one day, but for now, it’s getting parked and I’m trying a different project.

It just felt so stale. So unfocused.

Writers often talk about how their characters speak to them. I feel like mine have stopped. Like childhood pen-pals that no longer reply.

Another article suggested that you write what you read. The stories that you cancel on people IRL to keep on reading.  (Sorry – I can’t find the link now 🙁 usually I keep this stuff)

For me, that’s YA. It’s futuristic. It’s dystopian. It’s romance. It’s sci fi, otherworldly, but based on our world. An extension of the world we live in. The story I’ve been trying to write doesn’t tick as many of those boxes as it could.

So, a couple of days in to Nano, after having written nothing on the work I’ve been attempting again this year, I gave up.

I have started fresh. My last post began to deal with this question. The idea of 1667 words a day seemed too daunting and I didn’t want to give up my old story. The former holds true. 1667 a day is still daunting, but as to trying something new?

I met a couple of new young characters who are sometimes feisty and sometimes afraid. I’m getting to know them and the future world they live in. I’m excited.

I’m behind … Already. 1667 a day is incomprehensible to me. But I will try, some days.

I think the plan is to put aside a few hours over the weekend and try catching up as much as I can. My main goal is to reignite the passion and to push past the mental roadblocks that have stopped me from finishing in the past.


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25K words in – to NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo?

25K words in – to NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo?

To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo?

That is my question … what do you think?

I’m 25K words into my first novel! (As of this evening and following a long and crazy break.)

I am so excited to get back into it. Trying to set myself some goals.

600 words a day seems reasonable but 1667? Life would be so unbalanced and I’m already over-committed as a general state of being. Not sure I could manage 1667 every single day without alienating my other half or losing my job or losing sleep or sanity or something!

Not that folks aren’t supportive – they are, very – but there are limits.

Then there is the question of the 25K word start on a first draft. Those words wouldn’t count. Most of what I’ve read about NaNoWriMo suggests starting a fresh piece of work. Something new.

But I don’t wanna.

I want to get this story done first.

So what I’m thinking is I keep my own graph. I don’t try to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo this year. I keep my own goals instead. Maybe I can try NaNoWriMo ‘for real’ later on in life. Book number 2?

What do you think? Do you NaNoWriMo?


Posted by jhamby in Blogging, 6 comments