NaNoWriMo is over. In fact, it’s been over nearly a week. A lot of people wrote a lot of words. A few people wrote too many (I read reports of 35,000 words a day, or 1,050,000 words in a month), and the scary thing is that some of those people were telling the truth. I can’t imagine what the prose is like but I’d go with something in the region of “unreadable”. But that’s none of my business. A few friends of mine hit the 50,000 mark, and my hat’s off to them. The good news is that they’re still going strong and heading to the real finish at 80-100k.

I didn’t make it. I lost NaNoWriMo. Not that it’s a competition, not that I was out to achieve anything other than writing 50,000 in 30 days. But Empire State stalled at 32,000 about halfway through November. It was going well too – I was ahead of schedule and averaging 2000 words a day. All well and good.

Until… well, like many writers, both published and unpublished and best-selling and unsuccessful, I have to keep a “day gig” to pay for bills, food, rent, heating, power, petrol, etc, all the things that allow me to work on my fiction. My fiction is what I consider my job. That is what I do. The day gig is an inconvenient thing I have to involve myself with for eight hours a day, five days a week.

And as I said, a lot of writers maintain the day gig well into their writing careers. So I’m not alone and my circumstances are not unusual. However, what is possibly rarer is that in the middle of November, my day gig became seriously hard work. It’s a hard job anyway, but last month it turned me into a zombie. Evenings of writing were out as I was braindead by 5pm. Mornings of writing were out as I was too worried about the day gig ahead.

Result? Writing ceased. Actually a lot of things ceased (updating this blog, for example). It’s not an excuse for not writing, but it is an explanation. I failed NaNoWriMo (not important) and I stopped writing (very important).

Fortunately, there are several different solutions. One is the fact that I have nearly all of December off. Another is that I’ll be taking more control of the day gig next year. Overall, things are looking much better. I’ll have more time, and importantly, I’ll have more energy.

So here’s to December and to 2010 and to getting back into Empire State and to forging a career in fiction. Because writing is my job.

  • Jen

    One of the hardest things about writing, I think, is finding the time for it when your days are already quite busy, and you get home from work exhausted, when you have the stress of a hundred different things on your mind…

    I am quite lucky really because I have a job with reasonable hours with a company I enjoy working for, but even then there were nights of NaNoWriMo when I’d rather have gnawed my own legs off than geared up my brain for a couple of thousand words of writing.

    The fact is I suppose, even with the best and most noble of intentions, life can still come along and totally blow you out of the water, and sometimes there’s nowt you can do about it. *shakes tiny fists at life* But as you say, the important thing is not the winning of NaNo, but the writing itself, and we’re gonna kick it’s ass this month. Oh yes. 🙂

  • Rob Mammone


    Sounds is if the break in December couldn’t come soon enough. My day job is one long flogging from 8 pm until (usually, sadly) 6 pm, and off home to the wife and kids. It can be very, very hard to get motivated or find the energy in the evening to be creative.

    I had a week off at the end of November for a family holiday – put the laptop aside, read a book, enjoyed the sun and beach and just recharged. Perhaps you should too?

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