Takeaways from #NaNoWriMo 2016

When I started my NaNoWriMo project, I had mixed feelings. While I listened and nodded when the other GuelphWriMos spoke of 5K-word spurts and pulling all-nighters to achieve the ultimate goal of 50K words, I decided to be more realistic.

A linear pantser, I preferred to write sporadically, at most 1K words a day. My highest monthly count was 20K words.

Could I possibly make the leap from 20K words to 50K words and produce a “reasonable” first draft of A Different Kind of Reunion? And would I be able to write without stopping to edit the “hot mess” that would inevitably appear before me each day?

Just in case..I set my own private “hair” goals, a habit I had acquired after reading an inspirational column in The Globe and Mail.

Pixie Cut Goal — 30K words

Pageboy Goal — 40K words

Big Hairy Audacious Goal – 50K Words

bighairyTo my delight and astonishment, I wrote each day and achieved a final goal of 50,940 words, an average of 1,698 words per day.

Here are my takeaways from NaNoWriMo 2016…

  • I can stretch and write more than 1K words each day. In fact, on several days I wrote well over 2K words. Writing at specific times each day definitely helped. So did writing in split shifts. If I had limited time in the morning, I wouldn’t fret. Instead, I would write anywhere from 200 to 500 words and complete the rest in the evening before the midnight hour.
  • Planning ahead kept me on track throughout the month. In October, I created a chapter-by-chapter outline and character descriptions for A Different Kind of Reunion. Whenever I wavered, I would refer to my notes and return to the manuscript.
  • Rewards motivate me. And they don’t necessarily have to be tangible items. While I did purchase a journal at the 10K benchmark, I rewarded myself with experiences—Craft Shows—at the 20K and 30K benchmarks. At the 40K benchmark, I took advantage of Black Friday sales and purchased clothes. When I passed the 50K mark, I ordered my NaNoWriMo Winner t-shirt, and the universe rewarded me with a free psychic reading.
  • My well-honed left brain (I’m a math major) loves graphs and statistics. Each day, I looked forward to seeing my linear graph rise even higher on the my NaNoWriMo dashboard. And I appreciated the badges (4 Participation, 10 Writing, 7 Personal Achievement) I received throughout the month.
  • Sharing each step made me accountable. Friends—online and IRL—complimented and encouraged me along the way. Special thanks to my NaNo buddies, especially Peggy Jaeger and Cindy Carroll, and good friend Magda V, who honored my final achievement with a lovely card and assortment of David’s Teas.
  • I fell in love with the “hot mess” of 50,940 words and resisted any urges to edit along the way. In fact, I’ll have to wait until I fall out of love before starting the first round of edits.
  • Ideas are percolating for NaNoWriMo 2017—The Missing Gigolo, Book 4 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series.



Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

 Where to find Joanne  Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharon Wray says:

    Congratulations on such a super word count, Joanne! What a wonderful gift to yourself!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Sharon! I’m still celebrating my achievement. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is very inspiring to me, Joanne. I’m a pantser too. I’ve managed 2,000 words in a day, but often I’m at the 1,000 word mark or less. I’ve never done a chapter outline, but I am thinking of doing that for my next book. I’ve tried and failed at NaNoWriMo before, but I don’t think my heart was in it. I will do it in 2017 🙂 I think the hardest thing for me will be not to edit as I go. I’m an editor!!! But you can’t edit a blank page, as they say. Thanks for sharing your tips. I like the idea of split shift writing as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good to see you here, Judy. I had never outlined before, but after taking an online prep course for NaNoWriMo, I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. Best move and essential if you want to write 50K words in a month. Resisting the urge to edit is difficult but once you do it, it is liberating. Hope to see you in NaNo 2017. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. vicki says:

    That is absolutely wonderful, Joanne! And a hot mess can be shaped into something wonderful, which I know you can do, too. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Vicki! I’m planning to edit the hot mess during January and February. A cold, blustery winter is predicted, so I won’t be tempted to go outside. 🙂


  5. This is an inspiration. I’ve always backed away from Nano for the same reasons you stated above, but now you’ve made me want to try! Congrats on achieving your Big Hairy Audacious Goal, Joanne, very proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacquie! I highly recommend doing Nano at least once. When we are challenged, we will stretch out of our comfort zones. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Jeannie 🙂


  6. Mary Gillgannon says:

    Very impressed by your accomplishment, Joanne. So far I’ve never tried to do NaNoRiMo as I am not a fast writer and struggle to plot under the best circumstances. But maybe some year I’ll get the bug. Perhaps when I retire and actually have free time every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary, I must agree…being retired makes a difference. While I was teaching full-time, I have neither the time nor energy to write. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂


  7. Ilona Fridl says:

    I’m impressed! I tried NaNo one year and ended up with garbage. I have to think out my scenes carefully or they won’t work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Outlining is key! Without the prep work in October, I doubt I would have been able to complete 50K words. Thanks for dropping by, Ilona 🙂


  8. Great takeaways. I always wondered what it would be like to do it. I really admire your accomplishment and can’t wait to read the book.
    all the best,


    1. Thanks Jo-Ann! I appreciate your ongoing support and encouragement. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

We love to chat, just comment below. Please read the privacy statement in the menu regarding your privacy. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.