The Good, The Okay, and the Final Word (A NaNoWriMo Recap)

When last we met, I was in the midst of a two-pronged NaNoWriMo experiment.

Prong One: The Pot Luck Technique, where I worked on five different projects, following my brain/muse to whatever WIP it was inspired to work on in any given moment.

Prong Two: The Reverse NaNo Technique, where I started off the month with higher-than-average daily word count goals that got increasingly smaller as the month progressed.

Today, I shall talk about the results of this experiment.

First of all, this happened:

So yes, I earned a win. It was my fastest win ever (earned on November 19th), and I think that’s totally due to the aforementioned experiments (details to come). Because I am my region’s ML, I continued to write past the 50k mark (sticking around through the entire month is part of the deal) and ended up with a grand total of 63,596 words.

Which may sound impressive, but you should know that my wrimo buddies were absolutely crushing it this past month. One of them wrote over 235k words. In thirty days. Another had over 130k, and several ended up over the 80k mark. I bow down to their awesomeness.

Even if they made me feel like a slacker.

But seriously, they’re awesome.

Okay, so on with the post. Let’s talk about the techniques and what I thought of them.


I liked this technique. It really allowed me the flexibility to follow my creativity wherever it went (even if it just went to bed). Usually in November, when I’m working on my one WIP, and have tunnel vision or whatever, I get stuck from time to time. I flounder, I stare at a blinking cursor, and basically I do all those things you never want to do when you’re trying to write 50k words in thirty days.

Having the ability to shift from one WIP to another cut down on those less-productive periods. Don’t get me wrong—they still happened, but they didn’t happen as often nor did they last as long. I had five WIPs from which to choose in three different genres, and that really appealed to my particular mindset this past month. I knew I was lacking in focus, so having options (and having so many options) definitely took some of the pressure off.

Here’s where the five WIPs ended up. The first number is the starting word count on November 1st. The second number is the word count as of midnight on November 30th.

Terrible Romance Sequel: 49,380/61,673

Adventures In Babysitting: 0/9,762

Threnody: 0/23,300

How Many Angels: 0/9,740

The Third One: 0/8,622

I think I will definitely make use of this technique again. Overall, the Pot Luck Technique gets two enthusiastic thumbs up.


This technique was…fine. I was less thrilled with this and probably will not be using it again in the future.

But that is because about two weeks into this thing, I had about 80% of my word count total done because I was writing 3,000–4,000 words every day because I was trying to hit those Reverse NaNo daily goals (the first two weeks of this technique are brutal, word count wise). A fellow wrimo sent me a message pointing out how close I was to winning (a fact I had not actually noticed because I was so hyper focused on the daily word counts and not the cumulative total) and when I realized the truth of that statement, I decided to just keep the pedal to the metal and power through to the end.

Which led, as I’m sure you can imagine, to some exhaustion and maybe a wee bit of burnout. I woke up on November 6th and literally said, “Oh God. It’s only Day Six. How the hell am I going to make it through the rest of the month?!?”

So while it did lead to some not-too-shabby daily word counts, I don’t think this technique was worthwhile for me in the long run. I’m not sorry to have tried it, though. We never know what will work for us until we try it out. But yeah. This technique was a big Meh for me.


While I hit the 50k goal, I did not achieve my goal of completing the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel. (Honestly, between those two goals, I would have rather finished the draft, but that didn’t work out.) Some progress was made, however, and I may have worked through a major plot problem early on in the story—meaning I at least justified keeping it as is for now…So, not the progress I had been hoping for, but teeny tiny progress (or at least the temporary illusion of it) all the same.

I’m still not convinced that ANY of the five WIPs I worked on in November will ever amount to anything at all (I seriously don’t think I’m smart enough to pull off my concept for TRS), but it was an interesting thought experiment, if nothing else. And my brain offered up an intriguing-as-hell possibility for Threnody. I don’t know nearly enough about that project yet to know if that possibility is at all viable (and if it is, it would likely only be a part of a subplot), but it doesn’t matter right now.

The point of NaNoWriMo (for me, at least) is just to set a big, crazy goal for myself and jump down that rabbit hole of creativity and see where I end up. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Sure, I’m way happier when it works out, but there’s always something to be learned from the journey itself.

Or something possibly smart-ish sounding like that. I’m really tired.

Anyway, because I’m obsessed with the show, here’s a nice inspirational Ted Lasso gif with which to end this post:

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo last month? If so, how’d you do?

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and well, all.

12 Commentsto The Good, The Okay, and the Final Word (A NaNoWriMo Recap)

  1. Jemi Fraser says:

    I have a bouncy brain and love the idea of switching it up between projects. You did great! Congrats!

    I finished off a short I was working on over the first few days and then managed to finish off the 1st draft of the novel to start my new series. I didn’t expect to get it done until the new year so I’m thrilled 🙂

  2. Well done, MJ! And thanks for sharing what worked for you, what didn’t etc. I’m intrigued by the Potluck idea, but I’m not sure my brain works that way anymore. It’s sort of like the rest of me, not as energetic and flexible as it used to be. 🙂

  3. I think jumping around was a great idea. You never got bored.
    Don’t feel like a slacker. My first NaNo, I had a buddy who hit the goal on day five. Day five! There are not enough hours in a day for me to hit twelve thousand words…

  4. Like you and Jemi, I have a bouncy kind of creativity, too, and when I relieved myself of trying to focus on one thing (impossible this month), I managed to win, and win easier than I expected to.
    I think the best part of NaNo is the creative experiment and seeing what happens, plus finding out (again, usually) “oh yeah, that’s what works for me, not that other thing everyone says I ‘should’ do.”

    Congratulations on your win at NaNo!

  5. Kudos for doing this no matter what strategy you employed. That’s a huge accomplishment.

  6. Grats on winning! That’s awesome!

    I could imagine how burning through words quickly at the beginning might lead to burn out, but you made it.

    I bounce around naturally with my writing, so that first experiment would’ve worked great for me. Then again, I do tend to get obsessive with whatever has my attention at the time.

  7. Kate says:

    Congratulations! Sounds like you did some great work and learned a lot about what works for you!

  8. J E Oneil says:

    Good for you for finding something that works! And figuring out what doesn’t. Time to go sleep for all of December.

  9. Reverse NaNo sounds like way too much. Easy to burn out at that early pace.

  10. Liz A. says:

    You have learned why I like to have three or more knitting projects going on at the same time. Because sometimes you just need to scratch a different itch while you’re working. I guess your brain wasn’t going to be tricked into getting the whole thing done with the reverse technique. Well, now you know. Congrats.

  11. Samantha says:

    I love this idea and may well steal it next year. I participated, trying to jump start Menopausal Superheroes #5, so I can finish it in time for my April deadline. I got 30K, so that’s not too shabby. Only 50ish more to go, assuming that this novel comes out about the same length as the rest of the series.

  12. I abandoned NaNo and deleted my profile halfway through the month. I just wasn’t feeling it and my brain was too set on the idea of failing on purpose. Plus, I had craft shows stealing my focus.

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