NaNaWriMo – again! Back to Blog

Hi, everyone! Today it is my pleasure to welcome my Brava Writing With The Stars mentee, Dale Mayer, back to my blog. I’d like to congratulate Dale on advancing to the second round of the competition. Way to go, Dale!  And, don’t forget–you can vote now. The second round of voting focuses on the heroes and heroines.

Thank you for being here, Dale!  And good luck in the rest of the contest!


Thanks to Cynthia for inviting me to join you here again today.  It’s always a pleasure, particularly as we’re discussing one of my favourite events – NaNoWriMo!

I see the Internet is abuzz with both good and bad comments about this annual Write a Book in a Month event and although, I’m not big on controversy I am big on doing what works for you.

NaNo works for me.

Why?  For many reasons.  Let me explain.  NaNo for me is a challenge – not against everyone else, but against the amount of work I set FOR myself.  I’m a fast typist and a fast writer (no they are not the same thing) and I love to see what I can do.  I’ve done NaNo for several years and I’ve won the challenge each time.  That’s not the point.  The point is that I set the goal and I reached the goal.  Finished.

Regardless of how you view NaNo, it does create a lot of enthusiasm and ‘get up and go’ energy.  What you do with that energy is up to you.

Two years ago, I finished my 50,000 words a little early and continued to add to my novel.  Last year though, I blew through a barrier I hadn’t even known existed until I butted up against it.  I wrote a complete first draft of 93,600 words.  I was amazed at how the book went down on paper.  I was an all out pantzer with only the characters’ names and occupations and a two sentence blurb in my head as to who and what was going to happen.  Yes, it took several drafts this last year to pull it into shape and yes, there is one final one to go.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing.  As a matter of fact, that manuscript has turned out phenomenally well.

My reasons for participating two years ago were to finish in decent shape at the end of the month.  Done.  Last year I wanted to stretch and see what I could do.  Done – and now I understand the limits I had placed on my own abilities.  This year, well it’s not like I can sit back and not try to repeat last year’s success – right?  So I set a daily word count of 3,000 for 30 days to make 90,000 again.  As of today I haven’t missed hitting that mark.  If fact, I’m just over 46,000 at the halfway mark.  So all’s good right?

Except for two things.  This year I went into the NaNo process with some story architecture behind me, compliments of Larry Brooks and his very helpful website.  I’m still learning but the adaptations had made it easier for me to hit the high points in the story and whip past them to the next major point.  Is this making it easier to do NaNo – No.  Will it give me a cleaner first draft when I’m done?  I hope so.  According to Larry it will, so I’m willing to go on a little trust here.

The second thing I have changed this year and I don’t know how successful I’m going to be with this addition to my work load, is I am printing off what I have written during the week and am redlining all of it over the weekend and inputting the changes as I move forward.  This might seem unnecessary at this stage, for me however, it helps to keep the various threads running through the story.  Then if I drop one, I can catch it and fix it right away and it helps me to keep my characters in…well… in character!  I’m not naive enough to think this changes the story from a first draft to a finished draft because if doesn’t.  What it does do is help me make as a clean and as accurate a first draft as I can.

That’s what I mean about challenging myself.  The choices I make that are right for me are not the same choices that are right for you.  They aren’t supposed to be.

Don’t kid yourself.  Finishing your NaNo novel does not put you up on the NY Times bestsellers list!  However, it does make you a winner in so many ways!

For me it works!  How about you.  Do you NaNo?  Do you enjoy it?  Hate it?  Are you participating this year and if you are – how are you doing?  Are you on track?  Or are you so far behind you’re considering quitting?  Or have you blown the competition away and have started your second book?  Yeah, I’m kidding on the last one! Or do you stay as far away from us nutcases during this time as you can?

Dale Mayer
Writing for the Stars Finalist – Round 2 and counting!

Dale can be found on Twitter at: or you can follow her on Facebook.

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14 responses to “NaNaWriMo – again!”

  1. Dale Mayer says:

    Thanks for having me here today Cynthia. Today marks the halfway point in the month. I’m over the halfway point in the word count as are many others, many having all ready finished!

    It’s not too late to pick up the pace a little and still make it. This is all about pushing yourself just that little bit.


  2. Lynn Rush says:

    I love NaNo. It’s great fun. This is my second year. I usually have a different goal than 50,000 words, though. I usually shoot for about 75,000 for a first draft. NaNo is great fun because there’s such a kinship when you side along someone shooting for the same goals.

    LOVE it! good luck with the Writing with the Stars contest.

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Lynn,

    NaNo is such fun, isn’t it! I love that you shoot past the 50,000 mark because many of us are quite capable of doing more and I like to see people stretch. Maybe because I’m more involved in Facebook this year, but the community support has really made NaNo a fun and supportive ride this year.

    Thanks for stopping by and the good wishes on the contest!

  4. Amy Atwell says:


    Congrats on your multiple NaNo successes. I don’t do NaNo–mostly because November is just a difficult month for me to set aside the writing time. But I did once do a Book In A Month challenge. Not sure of word count, but I completed a 130 page rough draft of a full manuscript. What surprised me was how well the story held together and how clearly I could write the character arcs, mostly because I was connected to the story every day.

    Best wishes on the contest! It’s fun and informative to follow the entries every month!

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for stopping by on your debut day! How exciting for you. I don’t think with your schedule NaNo would have fit in no matter what month it is. 130 pages is a great output and I think what’s so important is that inner knowing that you can do it – if you have to – you can pull that magical rabbit out of your hat. Yes, I had to use the rabbit analogy!

      I agree about how well even fast writing can hold together. You live with these characters for this intense time, it’s like having company in your house, you get to know them whether you were ready for that connection or not!

  5. Hey one of the best things about Nano last year was meeting you, Dale. You are such an inspiration. I started off fired up this year but when I decided to enter the Golden Heart and realized I have a trip to California coming up next week, I pretty much gave up on it. I hate it, but it was the only decision to make.

    Nano is excellent for learning to set a big goal and even if you don’t finish the first year, you might the second or third year, like I did. Of course, I’m always behind you – you write like a house afire.

    Good luck in the contest.

    • Dale Mayer says:

      That’s such a nice thing to say Martie! I’m sorry NaNo hasn’t worked out for you this year, but you have solid goals and sometimes they have to be rearranged to fit them all in. Next year is another opportunity all over again.

      Thanks for the best wishes on the contest!


  6. Edie Ramer says:

    Dale, I’ve never felt the urge to do NaNo, but once it starts I’m so jealous of all you who are doing it. I want to have fun too!

    This year I’ve been busy with other things, but when I write my next book, I think I’ll try my own private NaNo and see if I can make it.

    Good luck to you, but I already know you’ll win it.

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Edie, if I didn’t have that urge then I wouldn’t do it either. It has to feel right. Now having done it – I love that feeling of belonging to this craziness.

      Any time you want to do a private NaNo – let me know! Of course it wouldn’t be quite so private then – would it? Then again if you want company on your private NaNo – then let me know!

      I’m definitely going to win NaNo this year as I’m about two days away – now the Brava contest – that’s a whole different challenge!! I do love a challenge :)


  7. Dale, I’ve never done NaNo; hard enough for me to manage 500 words per day, let alone write a book in one month. But I’m always so impressed at the productivity of all you who manage to do so! Write on!

    And all best wishes with TUESDAY’S CHILD!


  8. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for stopping by! I think NaNo for me is something I worked up to and then blasted past – lol! For you, you need to do what’s right for you. If that’s less than 500 a day, then that’s what you do. Productivity can be measured in many ways!

    Thanks for the best wishes on the contest!


  9. Hey, Dale. I’m glad this kind of challenge works for you. I suspect any kind of challenge works for you. (grin)

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Ahh Mary, you are so right! I do like challenges, but I like ones that I can win! :) You could always give it a try one year – you don’t have to make the full word count. Do what you can do.