Insecure Writers want to know: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

            Unfortunately, I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo. I simply don’t need more pressure to write. I write almost every day; poetry, short story, blog posts, memoir, and writing workshops and presentations. Yes, sometimes I stare more than I write. I get up and go through the motions to get the action correct for my protagonist and thereby the reader. I fuss and fudder. I cry. I tell myself I’m no good at writing.

Okay, so now you know why I’m part of Insecure Writers Support Group.
Then I return to that blasted blinking cursor and try again. I fight with my logical self and that stupid editor in my head who, many times, holds me back from beginning a new project until I know exactly what I’m doing. Does any writer know exactly what they’re doing at the beginning of a project? If you do, please share some tips! 
            I’m not a pantser. I can’t just bang out words, although I admire those who can. I can’t seem to disconnect that confounded editor in my head. I’m constantly re-reading what I’ve already written. Deleting here. Tightening there. Adding specifics and emotion. I can’t simply move forward in a piece of writing.   
I need to know where I’m going, what the point of my piece of writing is at the beginning. Now that’s not saying I know specifically where I’m going all the time. Quite often I only have an idea—sometimes just a glimmer—of what I’m trying to show through this essay or story, or demonstrate through sharing this incident. Hence, I do a lot of staring, like I said. And walking around my neighborhood. Yes! Even in the rain.
            Yet, I admire the camaraderie shared through NaNoWriMo, the need for a safe community that isn’t pitting themselves against their fellow writer, but rather cheering them on to success. I think NaNo is a wonderful thing, and I truly wish everyone who participates in it great success.  May all your stories come to fruition. Write on, dear fellow IWSG friends, write on!
Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and offering a comment. Please follow my blog if you haven’t already. It’s greatly appreciated.  

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.  

40 thoughts on “Insecure Writers want to know: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?”

  1. NaNoWriMo is the only time when I can write a draft (or part of a draft, as is generally the case) without the editor in my head constantly telling me to go back and rewrite something. Well, the editor is still there, still telling me to go back, but November is the only time when I don't listen to it. Much, anyway.

    The rest of the time, I'm just kind of fumbling along, shaping and re-shaping a story until it starts to resemble what I had in mind.

  2. Thanks so much, Hilary. Yes, I write each day. Okay, most days. But I'm sure I don't rack up the words like the participants in NaNo.

    It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  3. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Jennifer! Sometimes I envy pantsers. I need to know where I'm going in story to be able to move forward. You know, outlines can be very skeletal. It's probably only me who requires the heavier form.

    All the best to you! Thanks for your comment on Adventures in Writing.

  4. As I said to M.J. above, I'd admire writers who can do that. My blasted inner editor never shuts up! Do you lock your editor up in the closet during NaNo?

    Thanks for leaving a note on Adventures in Writing, Ronel. All best to you!

  5. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Rebecca! Thank you for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated. Yes, writers need to write however it works for them.

    Thanks for your comment. Please visit Adventures in Writing again. Enjoy your week!

  6. Thanks, Jennifer. I use that expression in conversation all the time. "I'm just fussing and fuddering." I'd say to the kids. "Please give me a few more minutes." They don't always, by the way.

    It's such a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  7. I admire people who can write without an outline or a solid idea of where the story is heading, but that's just not me. I need to know. I think the camaraderie is the best part of NaNo. I've participated for a few years, and I am glad I did, but it might be awhile before I find the right project to participate in NaNo again.

  8. I agree with you, Cherie. I need to know where I'm going when I begin a project. I've never participated in NaNo, but admire those who gave it a try. I think the camaraderie is the best thing about NaNo.

    Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  9. I'm impressed with people who can sit down and just write away. It takes me months. . .years of thinking the story through first. Then, I write the first three chapters and find my inner editor wanting to revisit those 100 times before moving on. Now, I force myself not to look back unless there's really something plot wise that needs help. At least, it worked on the last story I did. Good luck!

  10. I used to feel bad about not doing NaNo, but I realized it was okay not to do it. 🙂 And since I'm writing primarily non fiction now, it wouldn't be that productive anyway. Hope your writing is going well. Happy weekend!

  11. Hi-ya. Victoria. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I do appreciate it, and it's a pleasure to return the favor. I've also signed on as your newest groupie. 🙂

    It cracked me up when you said you sometimes do more staring than writing. Boy, can I ever relate to that!

    My internal editor is a pushy broad, and she never lets me get away with the kind of free-wheeling approach that's necessary for a successful NaNo, so it isn't likely that I'll ever participate. But ya never know…

    Have a super weekend.

  12. I can't shut off the editor either when I'm writing, which is often a good thing. Because that inner editor will spot plot problems that, if not fixed, will make much of what I write in later chapters mostly worthless. That's why I stopped halfway through my first and only attempt at NaNo. I have no idea how those fast writers do it.

  13. Many times, it takes me years as well to feel certain enough to dive into a story that's been playing around in my mind. But I need to know where I'm going and what the point is first. Good for you to be able to control that editor in your head even for just a bit to be able to move forward in your writing. More power to you!

    Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated. Enjoy your weekend!

  14. Many times, non-fiction or memoir doesn't work well with NaNo because research may be needed to move forward in a non-fiction project and sometimes the memoir can get to a point that is too emotional to be able to just crank out words.

    Thank you so much for your good wishes. And thanks for your note on Adventures in Writing. You enjoy your weekend as well.

  15. Thank you so much, Susan! I do that a lot, too, find out I'm already following someone when I thought I wasn't.

    My internal editor is also pushy. Sometimes too pushy. And she hates when I just stare at the blasted blinking cursor on the computer screen. No. I can't just push out words. But more power to those who can.

    Thanks so much for your comment on Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend as well.

  16. I think it would be very interesting to be a pantser. But I'm not. And like I said before, more power to those who can.

    It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing, Chrys. Enjoy your weekend!

  17. I don't know how they do it either, Ken. And I agree with you. A little editing along the way can help a draft become stronger. And like you said, you'll end up having less words to cut at the end. If you find out where you're going before you begin to write, you may not venture off on tangents and waste precious writing time.

    Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing, Ken. Enjoy your weekend.

  18. I feel your pain, Victoria. You seem like a planner and a very organized person. I like to have some guidance in my writing as well (a time line or outline could do, maybe?), but I on the other hand have no problem cranking out the words. My head is constantly spewing words and my fingers turn them into text on the screen. Diary, email, blog or book. I need to cut down on the non-book writing, because it, honestly takes up too much time and wears me out.

    But, a lot, lot, lot of editing will need to be done after the first draft of my book. It seems like there are different kinds of writers out there. In your situation, you just have to "pretend" to be blind for a while and let the words flow, being OK with typos and thoughts/ paragraphs being all over the place. Easier said than done, probably, but you can (and will) always edit later.

    That being said, I like a clean look of my manuscript as well and after each chapter, I reread and edit as needed, before starting the next chapter of my memoir.

  19. Bravo to you, Liesbet, to be able to crank out words, no matter where they are.
    Dang, this confounded editor in my head!
    And I understand the need for that poopy first draft. Right now, I'm trying to hammer out a first draft of another YA adventure story. I think about my story points constantly. I voice them to both family and friends. Then I try to hammer them out on paper. That's the most difficult part for me. And God help the children who constantly interrupt me while I try to do that. You're right about the editing. Lots need to be done to my first drafts as well.

    Thank you for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing, Liesbet. They are greatly appreciated. Enjoy your week!

  20. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Kim! There's nothing wrong with that method. Good for you that you can “pound out words rapidly.” But like you said, sometimes you need to stop and consider before moving on. All the best to you, Kim. I hope you are on target in NaNo.

    I truly appreciate your visit to Adventures in Writing. Thanks for your comment. Please stop by again!

  21. I don't NaNo either. Personally, I find it easier to go every day and organically pull a story together. Still, I always go in with a plan. I know the beginning, the end, the characters, several plot points, and most of the story world. There's just enough structure for me to still be surprised, but never lost. And I'm like you. I can't move forward if something isn't right. I revise what I wrote the previous day, then press forward. If I'm on a tight writing schedule, I'll complete the book within 3 months, and revise for another 2 to 6. That's as fast as I can make things happen around life. But maybe it's the other way around. Maybe I'm living first, and writing second. 😉

  22. I believe that knowing where you are going in story does not keep the writer from finding surprise within writing out the details. Like you said; this way the writer is never lost in their own story.

    Thank you so much for your comment here on Adventures in Writing, Crystal. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

  23. I didn't end up finishing nano this year, but last year I did, and it was a struggle. I couldn't believe how quickly others were pumping out pages. Some days I'd write for 12 hours and still only pump out the daily count of 1,667.

  24. Now you see, that's me too, Raimey. I'm impressed at what other writers can do cranking out words, but for me, I seem to consider every word trying to make sure it is exactly what I want to say at that particular time in the story. I believe writing is different for every person. We all have our own methods that work for us.

    Thanks so much for your note here at Adventures in Writing. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I wish you all the luck in 2018.


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