ShortbreadStories: The Blog

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Derek’s First Blog Entry

/by Derek Elsby/

Blog Entry 1:

I have a horrible confession to make. I’ve just logged into the NaNoWriMo website and set myself up for National Novel Writing Month, 2012. That’s not the confession; it’s connected, but I’ll save that for later.

It was way back in 2007 that a good bunch of friends introduced me to National Novel Writing Month and it’s become a fun tradition for us every year since. For those who aren’t aware, NaNoWriMo is a fun way to try and write a fifty thousand word novel during the month of November – that equates to writing around 1,500 words every day for the entire month. It’s said that everyone has a novel within them, NaNoWriMo is a chance to get it out.

What I’ve always liked about NaNo (yep, we’re shortening the acronym even more) is that it can be as serious as you want it to be. I’ve seen some people treat it like a life or death situation while others simply enjoy just being a part of it. I’ve treated it differently every year I’ve participated. The one year I actually hit the target 50k was the most intense and satisfying fun I’ve ever had with a keyboard. In other years  I’ve thrown the word count out the window (admittedly, usually after falling behind) and simply enjoyed the writing and socialising aspects that the month offers.


For me, the socialising is an important part of NaNo. Writing can be lonely, so our weekly write-ins make it fun, productive and social! It’s also a great way of sharing your work; our write-ins usually comprise of initial socialising, a few hours of tappity-silence, followed by readings of what we’ve written. This not only helps you realise where you’ve made mistakes, but getting live feedback can be incredibly simulating, and can encourage you to write more.

But back to my confession. I’ve already admitted that I’ve only reached the 50k target once. What can I say, often real life intrudes and while 1500 words a day isn’t all that much, keeping it up continuously for thirty days is a challenge. When real life doesn’t intrude, real laziness is always there to pick up the slack. That said, the feeling of my victory, “way back in oh-nine” will probably stay with me forever. I still get a little bloom of pride every time I look at the book on my shelf with my name on it. Sure, it’s a free-sample proof copy. Yes, it’s a rushed out, un-edited first draft and, as such, has got more plot holes and inconsistencies than your average conspiracy theory, but dammit, I wrote that! That feeling alone is worth, well fifty thousand words easily (it’s actually closer to ninety thousand – I kept going into December to finish the story).

Sorry, that wasn’t the confession either; got sidetracked by my ego, sorry.

My confession is that, even though we are now four days into NaNoWriMo 2012, I haven’t written any words. Well, that’s not true either (I know! The web of lies!). I have written about 1500, but they are all part of an essay that’s due in tomorrow. As I said, life intrudes. I have another essay due in another week so NaNo will be taking a back seat to university studies this year. But that’s also a good thing. You see, despite being a member of this fine website, ShortbreadStories, I’m actually really bad at writing short stories. The only story I have on Shortbread is about 7,000 words – not the shortest story on the planet. I tend to want to keep going into details, background, the world etc. So, I’ve decided that instead of NaNoWriMo, this year I’ll shall be doing NaShoStoWriMo. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in the same way, admittedly. I’m aiming to complete four or five short stories this month. I think that’s on crazy-par with 50k words. Bring it on (in short installments) November!

Derek’s first NaShoStoWriMo attempt can be found here, and if you’d like to read more thoughts from Derek check out his blog. 

Note: This blog was first posted on in the second week of November.


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