Tumbling down the homestretch of NaNo!

Joining us on THE BEACH today is author of Shameless, Rebecca J. Clark. Mired in the thick of NaNoWriMo, she's here to tell us how it is to write a book in 30 days. Take it away Rebecca..

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month (check out the official website here). It happens every November, and has participants from around the world. The goal is to write a book (50,000 words) in a month. Everyone who achieves this milestone “wins.”

I’ve participated several times before, but I’ve never won. I’ve always gotten stuck, or missed a few days and fell too far behind, or whatever other lame excuse I had. But this year, I’m on track to win. As of this writing, I’m at 28,000 words. I’m at the point where normally I’d have stopped, gone back to the beginning to try to fix what’s wrong, taken time off to do some research, or whatever. But in NaNo, you don’t have time to do any of that. You have to keep going, day after day, no matter what. You need to average 1667 words a day to win.

Going into this NaNo, I had no idea how it would go. Usually when starting a book, I’ve been thinking about it, writing notes about it, doing preliminary research for it for weeks/months or even years. This time was different. I came up with a brand new idea and started writing it four days later.

Also, I’m on a team this year—Entangled Publishing and Savvy Authors teamed up to offer a bootcamp, where writers can work with editors for a few days leading up to NaNo to get a good synopsis written before starting the actual writing. (This is the reason I started a brand new story—they weren’t crazy about the story idea I’d originally planned to write.)

Anyway, being part of a team has really kept me going when otherwise I might not have pushed through. My teammates are going gangbusters—I can’t allow myself to be the only slacker. :)

Some of my writer friends are envious that I’m writing a book this fast, they wish they could write so fast. Well, push that envy aside, fellow writers. Yes, I’m writing fast and being very prolific, but it’s total crap. LOL. Probably the worst first draft I’ve ever written. However...I am thinking of this draft as more of a detailed outline. By the time I get to the end, I’ll know exactly where I’m going, and will be able to revise it into a decent draft.

So, now you might be thinking this NaNo isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if it means writing a really shitty first draft. But here’s the thing—my first drafts are shitty whether I write them in a month or six months. So I might as well just get ‘em over with. Because revisions are where the real writing begins, at least for me.

Another lesson I’m learning from this NaNo: I have the time to write every day. No more using that as an excuse.

I can’t wait to get this draft done and reread it. I’m hoping it’s not as bad as I think it is, but even if it is, I’ve still proven to myself that I can write a first draft fast.

Rebecca J. Clark writes contemporary romances. You can learn more about her writing on her website. When she's not writing, she works as a personal trainer at a little gym in the Pacific Northwest. Her first diet book releases late 2013/early 2014. 


  1. Excellent post! I have played with participating in Nano, but never have, but I know it would be beneficial. My first drafts are always shitty, too, but I normally don't write 50,000 words in a month. However, if I joined Nano, I would HAVE to do that, because it would be my own self-imposed deadline. So, I've balked at doing it. :) I think having a team would help a great deal. Congrats on the progress...it might be as shitty as you think it is, but in the words of Nora Roberts (I think), "You can't fix a blank page." Best of luck on the home stretch!

    1. I realize my drafts are shitty whether written fast or slow, so I might as well write them fast then, eh?

      You should try it next year. It's really fun. Well, "fun" might be stretching it a bit as it is quite stressful, bu... :)

  2. I love that we're all saying 'shitty'. And that you are on task Becky!!! It's a different style to write super quick with no going back to fix but it might teach us all an effective way to combat Writer's Block.
    Congrats to you. Can't wait to read the (edited) version.

    1. Ha ha. I debated using the word "shitty"--obviously, I decided to go with it. LOL. I think writing this way is the BEST way to combat writer's block...because there's no time to HAVE a block. You just punch through it.

  3. I have to admire anyone who participates in NaNoWriMo...I never have. Maybe one day I'll get the nerve to do so. And I'm sure it's not crap...no doubt you'll turn it into a masterpiece. Great blog!

  4. Okay, I didn't read all the other comments first, or otherwise I'd have said I'm sure your story is not 'shitty'...I was afraid to offend or get my hand slapped. That being said, I can only repeat that I'm positive you'll turn your work into a masterpiece. GREAT post! :)