Lifehacker Does NaNoWriMo Once More

Lifehacker Does NaNoWriMo Once More

November starts tomorrow, and for me that means just one thing: National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, where participants challenge themselves to write an entire novel of at least 50,000 words in a month. I successfully completed the task in 2010 and 2011, but I have more ambitious plans this time around.

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I promised on this site that I would be back for 2012. Indeed, I made this specific pledge:

I also need to make sure that next November isn’t the next time I work on and complete the draft of a book. I need to make time for other projects between then and now. So if it turns out that I haven’t come November next year, Lifehacker readers can line up and throw cabbages at me.

I don’t think I need entire cabbages thrown at me, but it might be reasonable to fling a little coleslaw. I haven’t completed the entire separate draft of any single title. However, I have done a stack of research for two non-fiction titles; written the outline for a third; and submitted revised versions of both my previous NaNoWriMo manuscripts to publishers. No-one has bitten yet, but that’s life in writing, and I have kept pursuing that life, even outside my day job.

The basics of doing NaNoWriMo are, for me, the same as ever: I need to schedule time in my calendar every day for writing, and produce just under 2000 words a day. If I do that, no problem.

To add to the pressure, I also have a publication plan this year. My novel is on a tech-themed topic, so it’s going to be published, in instalments, online over the Christmas break on Gizmodo and perhaps Lifehacker (we’re still arguing internally over the mechanics). It will be available as an ebook for anyone who wants a “proper” version, but the whole thing will be on the site for nothing for your holiday reading pleasure.

So in just under two months’ time, everyone will be able to read The Gadget Assassin. Tomorrow, I have to start writing it.


  • I completed NaNo in 2007, and despite a semi-valiant attempt to get to the ‘next stage’ and edit the result into a second draft, it’s still sitting somewhere at home chock full of yellow post its with “tweak this part” or “twee analogy – rework” with realistically bugger all chance of those edits ever getting done. I’ve actually decided I’m going to give it another go this year with a new idea I’ve had bubbling away at the back of the noggin for a while. Which is going to be interesting, given I’m a new dad with two seven month old twins at home now 🙂 Sleep … who needs it eh ?

    • It seems daunting, but the great thing about the mind under pressure (and the reason it works) is you’ll surprise yourself and somehow it will all come together. Biggest tip – don’t try to pre-plan too much before you get into it, and just let the story and your characters take you where they will !

  • I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2002. I’ve only succeeded five times and I’ve mostly written bad prose, but after I first succeeded in 2006 it was a life-changing event.

    Since then, NaNoWriMo got me into writing and keeping on doing it. Eventually, that led to my blog which has turned out be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

    To fellow NaNoWriMoers here, all the best! 🙂

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