And then we came to the end: winning NaNoWriMo

I’m reminded of watching athletics on TV – the runners are coming into the home straight, except that in NaNoWriMo there are thousands and thousands of us scribbling for the line – and fingers crossed we can all win!

Day 22: Sunday was very short of words. It seems to have turned into homework day in our house, so finishing my last blog post and writing a couple of sentences was all I managed. We did go for a long walk though, as the weather was nice:


72 words today, 43,593 total, 87% complete, 6,407 to go.

Day 23: I broke off on Friday at rather an interesting point, so I was raring to go this morning. I finished the scene and started to consider the next one. Hmmm…three quite different things I could do here, shall I try and do all of them? 1,758 words later, challenge accepted! And now I’ve seen how many words I need to write to win, do I go for it tomorrow?!

2560 words today, 46,153 total, 92% complete, 3,847 to go!

Day 24: Like any sensible person, I asked Twitter for advice last night:

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 19.47.31

Yes, I should know better. But I really wanted to do it, so I went with it. I saw the kids off to school, made a strong cup of tea, and settled down to work. And the words kept coming. I wrote a short scene, started another, and by around 2pm I’d reached 2500 words. After a quick break for lunch, I carried on into a third scene, with an unplanned but rather useful plot twist. 3300. On to scene 4, which needed a bit of research. And at roughly 5.09pm, when my main character was standing in a pub and had just been handed a glass of gin, I saw this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 19.41.15

Around twenty minutes of cutting, pasting and scrambling followed, and, holding my breath, I clicked on the ‘Validate’ button. And now I’m one of these!


I know there’s still a long way to go; not just finishing the novel, but  agonising, chopping, changing, rewriting and nitpicking too. There have been days this month where I’ve slogged through, and days like today, where the darn thing has almost written itself. But there has never been a day when I wanted to quit. I’ve learnt a lot in the NaNoWriMo process – including some annoyingly repetitive writing habits which I intend to cure – and hopefully it will make me a better writer. In fact, I enjoyed NaNoWriMo so much that I’ve signed up to do something very similar in January.

What next?

  • Finishing A House of Mirrors, of course; at a slightly slower rate, though, while I fulfil other commitments.
  • Revising the story collection I was planning to edit in tandem with my NaNoWriMo project (before I got completely sucked into NaNoWorld!)
  • Writing more flash fiction, so that I can remember what finishing something feels like!

Congratulations to everyone who’s won NaNoWriMo already: I salute you! If you’re still on the road, well done, and keep going. And if you’re thinking about trying NaNoWriMo for the first time, do it. I had no idea it would be so satisfying, and so much fun.

See you next year!

4 thoughts on “And then we came to the end: winning NaNoWriMo

  1. stuarteglin

    Well done Liz – what an incredibly productive month you have had!!! Look forward to seeing that novel in due course. I would also be really interested to know more about what you have learnt from the process – like, what those annoying habits are that you are trying to change. Stuart


  2. Well done Liz. Super achievement. So writing first draft was the easy bit…..imagine it will take more than 23 days to do the shuffling, cutting editing…. Curiosity has me wondering whether you used the snowflake formula that you posted a while back. Hoping next year I will be able to have a go x


    1. Thanks Gaynor! I used some of the snowflake formula but didn’t do nearly as much prep as I’d planned to… It will definitely take me longer than 23 days to edit – I already have a big list of ‘things to fix and explain’ (not included in NaNoWriMo word count)! Let me know if you do try NaNoWriMo next year and we can be writing buddies.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Camp NaNoWriMo: past the post | Wordster

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