NaNoWriMo – reflection on 2017

You would think writing 50,000 words would be easier than this…

I’m a NaNoWriMo winner

Yes, I finished the NaNoWriMo month with 51,416 words in the bag.

So, yet again, I’m a NaNo winner! That’s quite an achievement because most people who start off writing in NaNoWriMo never make it to the 50K word mark,

And yet… and yet… it was hard for me this year.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerWords that wouldn’t flow.

51,416 words is a good total for one month, but last year I wrote 61,500 words for NaNo, and the year before I wrote 63,400. In those other years, the words just flew.

ant_LIThis year I stumbled and hesitated and edited and got frustrated with myself — and only just made it to the finish line because I was determined this would not be the first year I failed at NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been doing NaNo since 2010, with one year off due to onerous NHS commitments, and so this is my seventh year.

You might think it would get easier.


Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerWhy was NaNoWriMo harder this year?

  • I’m a year older and everything seems to take me longer, from getting up in the morning, to tying my shoelaces, to deciding what to eat.
  • This year, I was writing a sequel to a previous novel, and so I had to keep returning to check facts in the first novel. That slowed me down.
  • Then, in order to keep track of the various facts and stats about my world, I decided to create a databank on a website. Great fun, and certainly worth doing, but additional work during the hectic writing month of November. (You can check out the site here: Enforcers Hub)
  • I started, as I usually do, with a beginning and an endpoint decided for my novel, but only a vague middle section. So I spent the first couple of days writing a plan for the plot. My plan wasn’t very long – just a couple of pages of A4, which I whittled down to one page in the end. But it took up two days of thinking time.
  •  Happily, I have new duties as a new grandma, and that took up more of my time (and energy) than I expected.
  • I’ve embarked on a fitness regime, and either walk for a couple of hours, or do something more active for at least an hour, every day. This doesn’t sound very long, but actually there is all the getting ready, going out, coming back, taking a shower, etc. that accompanies any exercise regime.

So, those are some of the reasons why I struggled this year.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerWas it worth it?

Yes. Definitely yes. I’ve just read through the 51,416 words and am amazed by what I’ve achieved.

In fact, this year my novel is more structured, better plotted, has less irrelevant deviations, and is more polished than I’ve ever managed to achieve before during NaNo.

Although 50,000 words isn’t as impressive as the 60,000+ I’ve written in some of the years before, that 50,000 would never have been written if I hadn’t had the spur of NaNoWriMo driving me onwards.

Ruth Livingstone, writer, author and bloggerWhat have I written?

Quantum contractMy 2017 NaNo novel is provisionally titled The Quantum Contract, and is a sci-fi adventure story for young adults.

It follows on from the NaNo novel I wrote in 2015, entitled The Orbital Contract, a novel that’s almost completed, but still awaiting its fourth edit!

Now, I just need to finish this book. Should only take me a few more weeks…


Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

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