NaNoWriMo: What It’s Like for a Perfectionist

So, NaNoWriMo. Have you heard of it? Are you prepping for it?

It stands for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be during the month of November. It starts in three days. Three days. I’m going to try to attempt writing 50,000 words in a month, and it’s most likely going to be crazy.

And sorry this is a few days late. I’m blaming it on trying to prep for NaNo. 😉

But before I get to what I’m doing this year, I wanted to share with you a little bit about my NaNo experience last November.

NaNoWriMo 2017

The year I actually became a serious writer. I joined a program called YWW in July, tried to write something that totally failed, and by the time October rolled around, I was plotting a second book that I hoped would have a little more success.

And it did. I plotted all of it in October, and I was ready to start writing November 1st.

November 1st also happened to be the day that we were leaving our home in Southern Mexico and moving all the way up to New Jersey. Wow.

My original goal was only to do 30K, so only about a thousand words a day. I didn’t even know how it would work traveling.

I went from writing zero words, to a thousand per day in the car. And I discovered that writing in the car actually WORKS for me. When I spent days upon days in the car from the morning to late afternoon, I had a ton of time to work on writing.

It was really the perfect time, and a few days in, I realized that I could go for the full goal of 50,000 words. So I did. I had an amazing group of girls to wordsprint with, to cheer each other on, and that’s a huge part of what kept me going.

I had my mom eagerly waiting for each night to stop at the hotel so that she could read the next chapter once it was uploaded. And I had a whole group of alpha readers which really kept me going.

It was amazing. Yes, some days were hard. Some days I didn’t have time. But it WORKED. I guess that kind of accountability really does do something.

Yes, and I won NaNoWriMo as a first timer, and by the end of it we had been in New Jersey for a few weeks and all moved in.

NaNoWriMo 2018

I was originally planning to write The Potter’s Hands (see my What I’m Writing page) for Camp NaNoWriMo in April, but I didn’t even start writing. It was a bit discouraging, but I honestly wasn’t ready for it.

So I’ve had a lot of time to plan, procrastinate, and outline a ton. I feel like I’m ready. Maybe I am. I really hope I can do it.

But part of me is panicking because of these factors…

  • I don’t have as much time this year, because I’m not sitting around all day and not doing school.
  • I’m going from writing nothing to about 2,000 words per day
  • I’ve been outlining for so long that I’ll probably get stuck on the beginning
  • I’ll be babysitting, going to co-op, and trying to keep on top of school

Agh. I’m so nervous. Really, really nervous. The torture of waiting is terrible though, so I’m more than ready for November 1st.

But to prepare, this is what I’ve been doing:

  • I made myself a NaNo box. It was just a random burst of inspiration that came upon me, but it’s going to have motivational quotes in it, a candle, different things that relate to my book, NaNoWriMo survival tips, my outline, and a bunch of other stuff
  • I outlined my book from start to finish. It’s LONG, so it’ll go for a ways beyond just NaNo
  • I organized all my random notes, papers, docs, and everywhere else I had info into one place

Oh, and last, but not least, I’m doing a NaNo journal. In it, I’ll be writing my wordcount for the day, my favorite quote, how the day went, etc.

AND, at the end, I’m going to be sharing it with you! *throws confetti*

Because I’ll be busy enough as it is, I’m not going to be posting until the end of November, so I can free up more time for writing.

What I hope NaNo will teach me

How to let go of perfectionism. I’m SUCH  perfectionist, so it’ll be a good test to see if I can actually do this. I’ve been outlining for so long and trying to get it just right, so I need to let go of it working out just right the first time. A first draft isn’t going to be perfect anyway.

How to write even when I don’t feel like it. I already dealt with this last year, but I really hope it helps again now.

To write a lot of words. 50K is a lot, but I’m really hoping I can accomplish the goal. And if I didn’t win, that I’ll be okay with it.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what’s your #1 tip? If not, why aren’t you participating?


17 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: What It’s Like for a Perfectionist

  1. Good luck with hitting 50k! I totally agree; I am nervous for it! I hardly have ANY time at all to work on anything other than school. I don’t know how I’ll manage even 10k, much less 50k. 😖 I guess we’ll see how it goes… 😂 (also, love the idea of an inspiration box!)


  2. Yaaaay NaNo!!! I’m gonna make my NaNo post tomorrow 😊I’m so excited for you, Liv! This’ll be fun! (Also I feel you, I didn’t have nearly as much last year. This year I have a lot but it’ll be good!)❤️


  3. This will be my first time doing it. . . and I’m terrible at finding things to outline about my book *face palm* Have no idea what I’m going to do, lol. XD


    • You can do it!!! There’s going to be a first time for everything. And you know what…not everyone’s an outliner, so maybe it’s okay that you aren’t really outlining much. 😉 Everyone has different things that work for them.


  4. Good luck, Liv!
    I’m embarking on my first major WIP now (it was going to be for NaNo, but not anymore), and I’ve also been realizing that I need to put aside my perfectionism and be okay with my first draft, which is a lot like what you’ve shared today. 🙂


  5. You go girl! That’s a ton of words but it’s a great goal!!
    I’m doing a variation of NaNoWriMo…through dance. I’m gonna mostly improv dance a song each day, which will tell a story at the end of the month. I’m hoping it’ll help me get more creative, be more consistent with stretching, and to improve my skills. Anyways…😁


  6. Ah, NaNo sounds fun.


    But truly, I think y’all enjoy it (you’re crazy) for a reason. Friends, candles, words- they all encourage you, and I think that’s what makes NaNo so amazing. ❤ Keep working at it, Liv!


      • Eh….um… I’m not a writer though. XD If I did NaNo all I’d be writing is “um so yeah and then this happened — *proceeds to list stuff in a boring fashion or in passive tense* — and then this happened so yeah end of the story byeeeee”

        So probably not. 😀 But I totally would if I were a writer. 😀


      • Aww okay! For some reason I just assumed you were, so sorry! 😉 Yeah, it’s not for everyone, and not everyone’s a writer. But I’m glad you read through my post even though you aren’t! A lot of my posts are more geared towards writers, though I do try to do a bunch of life stuff as well.


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