NaNoWriMo - Doing It My Way by Allison Symes

I have “done” NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. Why “done”? Why the speech marks?!

Well, for a start, I’m not writing a novel!

Secondly, I’m not worried about word count. (Given I’m a flash fiction writer, that makes a refreshing change!). If I write 50,000 words in November fabulous. (Mind you, if you add up my Chandler’s Ford Today posts, and my other writing, I would reach that target).

Setting a goal and the pace at which you achieve it is important. Pixabay

Thirdly, because of the above, I’ve not signed up to the official website.

Just as well, I hear you cry.

What I am doing is using November to focus on a non-fiction project I have had in mind for a while and which I know needs restructuring, as well as new material added. 


I've found setting my own writing project and word count achievement incredibly helpful. Pixabay

I think I am honouring the spirit of NaNoWriMo. I have got a project and a target. I have been following with interest the comments on the ACW NaNoWriMo Support Buddies Facebook page and adding my own. I hope by the time this post goes live, I will be seeing a light at the end of my project’s tunnel!

I intend to plough on after NaNoWriMo has officially finished as my goal is to get my book written so I edit it in the New Year and then submit it. 

What a positive message and I think setting your own targets makes this more likely. Pixabay

I’m one of life’s planners (it helps in my role at Membership!) so working out what I want to do is not a problem. What can be an issue is carving out the time to get on with things and this is where I am finding my version of NaNoWriMo useful. 

So, I hear you cry, this is great, Allison, but how does that benefit me?

Simples! It pays to take time out to work out what you want to write and then think of steps to help you achieve it. When you’ve got a project you’re itching to work on, the temptation can be to plough on in there. For a while that can work well. But the time will come when you’re running out of steam for your big idea. What then?


Important to just write for now and edit later. Pixabay

This is where if you’ve thought about what you want to do and how to achieve it, you are less likely to hit the author’s equivalent of the marathon runner’s wall. 

Books are hard work (and great fun) but you need to pace yourself. Learning to pace myself has been so helpful. It means I’m not putting myself under too much pressure. I write better as a result. Whether you write 200 or 2000 words a day, the pace you set should be one you can maintain for however long it takes you to reach the finishing line.

For my NaNoWriMo, I've set my own deadline. Pixabay

The ideal is to finish your writing for the day and to be looking forward to the next session. That’s more achievable if you take the pressure off. Using tools like NaNoWriMo can help. I think it’s more likely you’ll get there with pacing that suits you. 

Happy writing!   

Fill that blank page (and not with the coffee!). Pixabay


  1. Interesting to read, this, Allison. I have never done it but am thinking about it for next year. Let us know when your book is ready to go!

    1. Thanks, Ruth. My problem will be shutting up about the book when it is ready!

  2. The very thought of the commitments called up too many bogeymen for me! Well done, all of you who did it in whatever degree of dedication. Hats off!


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