NaNoWriMo and the Published Writer

A bunch of published writers undertook NaNoWriMo in November 2017. In some cases they were starting a project from scratch, in other cases pacing alongside NaNo to add 50k words to an ongoing project. Some completed 50k words in November, some didn’t – for various good reasons. Here are snippets from ongoing comments throughout the month of November.

NaNoWriMo used to be aimed at the beginning novelist. By writing less than 1700 words a day it’s possible to have fifty thousand words in the bag in one month. For someone who’s never managed to complete a novel, that’s an amazing achievement. For those who have finished novels (and had them published) then pacing their writing alongside NaNoWriMo gives an incentive to get words down on paper, or pixels on a screen.

1st November 2017
Jacey Bedford: I’ve done NaNo several times since 2008 (before I sold my first novel) but since I got my publishing deals (first one in 2013) I’ve used NaNo to my advantage, spurring me on to add words words words to my work in progress.

1st November 2017
Liz Williams: I’m pacing alongside as far as possible. I don’t want to sign up officially as I’m waiting to hear if a writing assignment is coming down the pike and if it does, this will need to take priority over the novel. I’m about halfway through with the latter and would like to use November as an excuse to get the bulk of it done.

1st November 2017
Dolly Garland: Honestly, I had no plans to do NaNoWriMo earlier this year. Until September, I hadn’t thought about it After all, my life is so crazy busy right now that even considering it was silly. But then in September I went to Milford Writers Conference and got this huge injection of writing mojo. That was a really good thing because I really needed that injection. After that, writing momentum has been going in full force, and I am really keen to make some solid progress on my novel. So enter NaNoWriMo.

At first I thought I would just do it without joining in officially. I figured I will do about 30,000 words and even that will be solid progress. But one thing led to another, and I ended up officially signing up to NaNo, and so of course now I have to try to do the whole 50,000.

The madness has begun.

I know I have some very busy days coming up when I will be lucky if I manage to do 500 words a day, so I wanted to get off to a really good start. On the first day, I’ve managed to 5485 words, which was way better than I was expecting. So the first day of NaNoWriMo2017 has been a success. And hopefully, I will hit that 50,000 mark.

3rd November
Jim Anderson: The Beast (my new nickname for the novel idea) had been hanging around for far far too long, as most people who know me will know. Too many people have seen bits and pieces, some now rewritten so many times as to be unrecognizable. And so I’m NaNo-ing this year to push through the weight of time and procrastination and make some serious progress. And dare we hope against hope for a zeroeth draft by December?

3rd November
Jacey Bedford: I got off to a great start on Wednesday, but I didn’t write much yesterday because life (in the shape of my day job) got in the way. I work from home, which is both a blessing and a curse. I love a job you can do in your jammys, but people do tend to call me out of hours. Because of that my hours tend to be 24/7. Compartmentalising the day job and my writing is the hard part. So I got up early this morning and managed a couple of hours at the keyboard before the phone started ringing. Ah… that’s better.

3rd November
Nancy Jane Moore: I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but I am doing NaNoReWriMo. That is, I’m going to use the month of November to revise the novel I wrote a rough first draft of earlier this year (much of it during the Clarion West Write-a-Thon). My goal will be to devote a minimum of an hour per day on revisions. It will be interesting to see if this is an effective way to revise and rewrite.

6th November
Jacey Bedford: Good job I got ahead because my expected visitor arrived today, coinciding with an urgent day-job thing, so I managed barely a hundred words, but I’m still at over 15,000 words, so ahead of the curve. And I know that next week I have to attend a council meeting that will probably last for two days. No I’m not on the council, I’m protesting against plans to designate part of our village for quarrying. NIMBY? You betcha.

14th November
Jacey Bedford: I got back on track last weekend and managed to top 20,000 by Sunday evening, now it’s almost the halfway point and I’ve just topped 28,000 words. Are they good words? I don’t know. Time (and revision) will tell. With any luck I’m on track to do 60,000 words by the end of the month. Then the hard part is keeping it up. I need to keep going at an average of 2,000 words a day through December, too, to finish the first draft of Rowankind by the New Year. I want to have time to do a structural edit before I turn it in to my editor at the end of February. I need to do WriLitDeiDe, Write Like the Devil in December.

15th November
Suyi Davies Okungbowa Had to drop out. Exam date got moved backward, and suddenly I was struggling to study and write at the same time–one had to go. Will make amends sometime in Jan-March 2018, though.

15th November
Kari Sperring: I’m just over half way.

17th November
Steph Bianchini Only at 20,596, but next week I’m commuting more than 25 hours overall… I expect a huge jump in my word count.

24th November
Liz Williams: I’ve done 2 short stories this month, which is about as much as I could have accomplished. They’re stories for subscribers, but they have a destination. I’ve been going through runs of writing short fiction (May and September this year) so I’ve done 23 so far, and am planning another couple before the end of the year. It’s working out at about 2 per month.

25th November
Dolly Garland: My first half of the month was writing one novel – which I did 22849 words on. Second half of the month so far has been editing another novel, and brainstorming the novel I wrote words on in the first half, cause I gotta find some answers.

26th November
Jacey Bedford: I just passed the 45,000 mark with five days to go. I’m racing for the finish, but knowing that I’ll have to keep going. It’s like getting to the end of the Grand National and then having to go round again! When I look at my wordcounts, I’ve had some terrific days and some really slow days, but at least I’ve written something every day – even if it was only 60 words (7th November) or 179 words (23rd November). Some days I’ve done 4,000 plus words and I’ve had a lot of steady 2,000 – 2,500 days, which makes up for the ten days when I’ve not reached 1000.

30th November
Jacey Bedford: I verified my NaNo word count at something just over 51,000 a couple of hours before NaNo closed, and then kept writing, so at close of play on 30th November, I has 53,056 words.

3rd December
Jim Anderson: And it all started so well.  I’d set myself a reasonable goal, given other things going on, of 30 000 words for the month, so 1000 a day, and I was keeping up with that until the middle of the month. At that point, work got complicated in a way that absorbed not only time and energy but head space as well. (Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you the whole sad tale.) But I did get just under 15 000 words written, and as things calm down, I’ll get back to grips with the Beast. Overall, I found the experience to be interesting and stimulating and I’ll definitely give it a go again.

3rd December
Jacey Bedford: There’s a new ‘goal tracker’ feature on the NaNo website (under the drop down list on ‘My NaNoWriMo’ on your dashboard if you want to give it a go) so I’ve entered a new goal of 120,000 words by 10th January which should see my first draft of Rowankind finished. As of midnight on 2nd December I had 57,145 words. Can’t stop just because NaNo is over for another year. I reckon if I can do 2,000 words a day (and plan to take 5 days off at Christmas because we have family coming to stay) that I should just about hit that mark. It gives me 5,000 words leeway for those off days that we all have, but some days I’ll do more than 2000 words. Yesterday I did 2246 words, and today (Sunday) I’m planning on at least 3000.

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (, the secretary of Milford SF Writers (, a singer ( and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers ( She's also a Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration department licensed sponsor processing UK work permits (Certificates of Sponsorship).
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