IWSG: The Experiment that is Nanowrimo

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


By the time you read this, I’ll be knee-deep in Nanowrimo.

I wrote my first (now well and truly trunked) novel during Nanowrimo, and ever since then, Nano has been a time to try new things in my writing. There’s something about the idea that it’s only a month that seems made for experimentation. Write thick? That’s nano experiment. Write in a new genre? Nanoexperiment. And this year is no different. I’m going to be focusing on writing a clean, tidy first draft.

I’ve been prepping the hell out of it this year, in hopes of coming up with a smoother, more linear, chronologically oriented first draft. Yes, that’s always on my wishlist, and yes, I always feel like I fall short. Try, try again.

Everybody does the same amount of work… (Brandon Sanderson sez)…. it’s just that some of us do it at the beginning, and some of us do it at the end. Okay. Makes sense to me. And I don’t really love revising. Why shouldn’t I move some of that work to the beginning, and cut down on the revising part?

I’m probably going to be writing about twenty five days, and my outline gives me twenty-two boxes with story-structure elements in them to fill out. Voila! Organization!

It feels completely unnatural and wrong, and to be fair, I’m not sure I can do it. Maybe I really am a part of the write now, revise until your eyeballs bleed later club.

But Nano is the time for magical experimentation, and sometimes… just sometimes… it actually works.

Wish me luck!


  1. Reply

    Good luck with the experiment. Even if this new method doesn’t work for you in its entirety, there may be aspects of it that you’ll find useful and that you can integrate into your traditional writing process going forward.

  2. Reply

    I’ve spent the last couple Nanos editing the same piece. This time, I’m rewriting the whole second half, and it’s already a much more enjoyable endeavor. Good luck, but give yourself permission to write not-so-clean-and-tidy this month.

  3. Loni Townsend


    Yay for experiments. My past NaNos created a mess I’m still in the process of cleaning up years later. I think that’s more the fault of the book than NaNo, but dang, it’s a lot of work. I normally would give it a try, but considering my writing pace as of late, I don’t think it’d be good for my mental health. Best of luck!

  4. Reply

    It’s only Day 3!!!! We can do it! Every year brings new strategies to try. This year, I’m reworking a rough draft and still making those daily goals. Feels a bit like a miracle. Any challenge that brings me closer to my story (drafting, revising, deepening) brings joy as well. May the rest of November be very good to you and your writing! No eyeball bleeding!

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