#NaNoWriMo and some Thoughts.

It’s December 1st, and I did not win NaNoWriMo this year, just as I have not won it in the past three years that I’ve made the effort. I have to admit, though, I made a hell of a good showing and got much more dedicated, focused, and further along than I have in any previous attempts at NaNo. I finished the month with a word count of 44,213; I had hopes of getting home after work and pounding out the last 6k, but work was long and trying and I just wanted to go to bed and the weight of my sanity was far greater than the weight of an arbitrary number. So I didn’t quite get there, and that’s okay.

Because I still wrote 44k in 30 days, and I have an outline (albeit a messy and confuzzled one) of a potential novel, which is something I didn’t have at the start of November.

This was the first time I made a really honest effort to make it to the 50k, and it was a pretty interesting experience. It definitely became harder than I expected to balance both my personal life, my work life, and my writing life, though there was catch-up days were I astounded myself with how much I was able to put out. I feel that some of the writing is just terrible purple prose and filler, but now I have the luxury to take my time brushing up the piece and seeing what else I can do with it.

I’m glad I did NaNo this year; I like the drive and the goal and the fire under your feet and the dedication to just spending a day pounding out as much as you can. But I’m glad it’s over. I was joking on my RoW80 check-ins how I’ll feel bored now that NaNo is over and, in a few days, I can see that, but I’ll have plenty to keep me busy. I have three potential WIPs to work on, a fourth that I’m editing, and a plethora of short stories to keep me busy. NaNo helped me get bit by a productivity bug and I hope to maintain it through December and beyond.

After 1667 words on one piece and 300 on another in a day, 500 words a day on each of the three WIPs shouldn’t be too difficult at all. A page on the editing. A short story a day. Plus all my reading. I’m really excited for the potential that December has for me, and I don’t think I’d have the drive and ambition I have for it if I hadn’t put myself through NaNo this year. Sometimes it felt a little frustrating that I had to abandon other projects in lieu of keeping up with NaNo, but now it’s over, so I have all the time in the world.

Happy writing, everyone! NaNo is over! Let’s break out some wine and celebrate!

Though I have to spare at least one interesting thought: I just spent a month trying to puke up as much of a novel as I could, and I still haven’t thought of a good title for it.



  1. Titles are tough, and not to be taken lightly — although sometimes, if we’re lucky, they come rather like a gift.

    As Vladimir Nabokov wrote, in one of his very best yet lesser-known books:

    Readers did not realize that two types of titles existed. One type was the title found by the author or the clever publisher after the book had been written. That was simply a label stuck on and tapped with the side of the fist. But there was another kind: the title that shone through the book like a watermark, the title that was born with the book, the title to which the author had grown so accustomed during the years of accumulating the written pages that it had become part of each and of all (Vladimir Nabokov, Transparent Things, 1972).

    Having said that, however, I think you may have hit upon a title for something, at least (an essay, perhaps, or a book of non-fiction?):

    Puking Up A Novel by L.S. Engler

    What do you think? I like it. I think it has a ring to it.

    • Ha! Sounds like it could be a great autobiography! I think something titled simply Puke would have a lot of merits, too. I approve!

      And thanks for the great quote, too. I think that’s why the title for the NaNo project is bothering me so much, because its predecessor has one of those second kind of titles Nabakov is speaking of, and so does the book intended to follow it. So this is just a piece that’s stuck in no-title land, lonely and cold in the shadow of its companions, with their titles shined and glowing brilliantly like breastplates…

  2. Puke would have a lot of merits, too.”

    Ha-ha! Now that’s funny. May I quote you there?

    “glowing brilliantly like breastplates…”

    Very nice, Ms. Engler.

    • Thank you, thank you. *bows magnanimously*

      And I’d be honored to be quoted. The more quotes attributed to me about puke, the more validity the title will end up having, right?

      • Yes, yes, that’s exactly right. It gives you the weight of authority. I can hear it now:

        “I’m looking to know a little more about puke. Can you help me?”

        “Yes, I can. If it’s puke you’re interested in, there’s really only one person in the world to turn to: L.S. Engler.”

        Big belly, small penis? That’s another kettle of fish.

  3. Even though you didn’t win NaNo, you really churned out the word count. I personally don’t like the pressure of NaNo. I USED to, but I like to live my life more laid back than that. It’s my age, I tell you! LOL

    I understand about how hard it can be to come up with a title. I STILL haven’t figured out a title for the third and final Libby Fox novellas, and it’s due to be published in a couple of weeks or less!

    • Pshhh, age! You’re only as old as you feel! But of course that’s something the young whippersnapper would say, isn’t it? : )

      And that makes me feel a little bit better about my own title problems; mine aren’t even finished yet, so I’ve got plenty of time before a couple of weeks until publishing. Good luck on finding yours. I bet pesky titles like that probable hit right when you least expect them to.

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