The Ghost of NaNos Past

The Ghost of NaNos Past

As we approach the NaNoWriMo season (*sound of panicking in the background*), I thought it would be fun to look back at the last six years of NaNos, ever since I started.

It’s amazing how different they’ve all been! Ups and downs… And each year I step deeper down the rabbit trail as it were. πŸ˜‰

(I did also do 4 Camp NaNo sessions — a 20K goal and three 10K goals, all of which I reached — but for the sake of continuity I’ll be ignoring those this post. XD They are, however, little footnotes in my NaNo history, so maybe someday I’ll do a post about them! But 6 + 4 = 10 times I’ve participated in (and won) a NaNo-ish event! *celebration*)

Here are my NaNo experiences . . .

NaNo #1: 2010 — The Chaos Year


(Since I didn’t join the NaNo site my first year, I don’t have a handy graph from the site of my wordcount, so this one will have to do. Blue bars = where my wordcounts should have been to be on par. White bars = where my wordcounts actually were.)

Twelve Fugitives in the Wild — set in another world, without fantasy elements but with an 18th-century time period. Muskets, carriages, a dark tower, missing persons, and lots and lots of unexpected plot-twists…

Brave new step: Undertaking my first NaNo.

My first year was utterly insane. It was an unofficial NaNo (i.e. I didn’t sign up with the site) and I had no idea what I was getting into. I decided to do it the night before, and pantsed the whole thing, which I had very little experience with… I managed to reach my goal but not without falling dreadfully behind most of the month, and having to do an enormous catch-up day, writing 8,000 words on the last day. It took the entire day and much chocolate and family members pushing me back to the computer every time I wandered away in despair… *cough* But I made the 50,000! I was so happy.

NaNo #2: 2011 — The Perfect Year


Far-mark’s Dream — to this day, the only novel I actually finished during NaNo. A fantasy adventure story featuring prophecies and salt fairies and bats and a serpent, and three friends (one reluctant; okay, he hates them and opposes everything they stand for, but to be fair he’d been enchanted. *cough*) who set out to defeat the Empire, with much epicness along the way.

Brave new step: Joined the NaNo site and forums.

My second NaNo was a complete dream come true. Learning from my mistakes of the first year, I planned ahead and had the whole novel plotted before day 1, made sure to stay on top of my wordcount, and just had a blast. I hit a few snags through the month, but always came through, and finished two days early… actually finishing the novel itself as well. I still look back at this year as my ultimate NaNo experience. ❀ I loved the book too. I still do… though I’d like to rewrite it a bit and expand some of the things. *nod*

NaNo #3: 2012 — The Overconfident Year


Grey Betrayal — Book #1 in my several-book Epic Fantasy series, this one features plots and war and mountains, a talking bear, and the adventures of two friends, one of whom has many secrets…

Brave new step: I stepped out of my introvert writer shell and went to write-ins and a victory party at the end!

Oh, this year. I had grown arrogant, I fear… After my insane impromptu first year, followed by one where I took precautions and nearly everything went smoothly, I thought that NaNos were a breeze, apparently, as long as you planned for them. Alas, I was wrong! I didn’t realize that my second year had been the best and easiest NaNo I’d ever have the pleasure of being a part of. I started out pretty well on this third year, especially thanks to the numerous rambling thoughts of my main character, which gave me lots of words (thanks, Faron). But then I hit a snag a third of the way through called running-out-of-plot. I had neglected to plot further, and the rest of the month was a serious struggle. I pushed through at the end, but emerged a humbled NaNoer, realizing my good fortune of the previous year for what it was.

NaNo #4: 2013 — The Leading Year


Underground Rainbow — contemporary fantasy featuring a young photographer and his adventures with various fantastical creatures: gnomes, griffins, leprechauns, and the like.

Brave new step: I stepped into a co-leadership role as a NaNoWriMo ML for my region. (Municipal Liaison: volunteer event organizer/local leader.)

This year started out all right, and then life crashed around me. It was my first year as an ML and that took up a lot of my time and creative juices, plus I was kind of in a writing slump, so that took its toll. This year is actually kind of hazy in my memory… But the story was a lot of fun, despite that, and I did make it in the end. Not to mention the wonderful camaraderie of my region this year, which was fantastic. ^_^

NaNo #5: 2014 — The Roadtrip Year


Heartseeker — original fairytale YA fantasy romance type thing, featuring the princess who goes on a quest to find the heart of her betrothed.

Brave new step: Well, it wasn’t very brave, exactly, since I had no choice, but it was definitely crazy. I managed to do NaNo while being on a roadtrip most of the month AND ML-ing at the same time. It. was. insane. But I’m also very proud of me for surviving and doing okay. XD

Although it was arguably my most difficult year, due to a roadtrip in the middle on top of life and ML-ing, this is also one of my favorite NaNos, looking back at it. I’d say this and the Far-mark year were the best. Writing in the car was a new challenge, and one I only survived due to helpfully-pestering family members, and the kindness of my co-ML lending me a power adapter so I could use my laptop in the car and some rewarding letters from her characters which I could only open at certain points. I also was thankful for being snowed in at my uncle’s house for a couple of days, which allowed me to catch up in the middle of the trip. I finished off this NaNo with a spectacular write-in at a library late at night, which is my favorite NaNo memory. ❀ I can’t believe I survived it, and I definitely wouldn’t have without the support of wonderful friends and family, but it was a challenge and, despite the stress, was a blast as well.

NaNo #6: 2015 — The Rebel Year


  • The Silver Forest — retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Rose and the Raven — novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — book #2 in my modern-fantasy series starring Tare and the Chess Club

Brave new step: Turning rebel (not so much brave as insane) and actually working on THREE different stories during NaNo in order to hit my 50K goal, instead of just one like the “rules” (made to be broken. ;)) state and like I’d done every year.

I did all right with my 12 Dancing Princesses story until exactly halfway through the month when it decided to inform me that I’d gotten the whole beginning wrong and would have to scrap everything I’d written and completely restart the novel. Um. It was going to be so much awesomer with the new twists that had emerged, but SERIOUSLY?? IN THE MIDDLE OF NANO?? What kind of bad timing was this? (Answer: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . . You can read the story of my Mid-NaNo-Crisis here.) I ended up abandoning it for the time being and instead taking the opportunity to work on my novella for the Rooglewood contest, with bits of KW2 to help whenever the painstaking shortness of the novella got too much. I survived this one too (despite a nasty cold near the end and running out of plot a couple times) but wow, it was definitely a new challenge! Writing more than one story in a month is super hard, because you have to get into the right mindframe for each of them, and switching between them is difficult. But it turned out okay, so huzzah!

NaNo #7: 2016 — ???

Story to write this year: To Be Announced…


Brave new step: I’m going to be ML-ing thisΒ  year totally on my own. In my previous three years as an ML, I’ve had wonderful co-MLs and helpers with whom I’ve shared the burden. I’m all alone this year and just hoping I’ll be able to do it without those wonderful people having my back. Wish me luck, because this is scary. XD

Obviously, this year’s NaNo adventure is a mystery yet to be discovered (unless you happen to be a time-traveler, which I, unfortunately, am not…). What will happen this year? I’m as curious as you are!

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will (hopefully) be all about what I hope to work on this NaNo! (No promises, of course; NaNo projects are notoriously slippery beasts.)


So there you have my past NaNo exploits! What about yourselves, my roadlings? Have you done NaNo? How many? What were your best (and worst) NaNos? Tell me aaall in the comments!

16 thoughts on “The Ghost of NaNos Past

  1. Hahaha this is great!
    I’ve only ever done NaNo once, which was last year, and I failed pretty miserably at it. XD But I have been successful twice during JuNo, so hopefully I’ve learned something from that and this year will prove that I can finish NaNo! πŸ˜‰
    And good luck NaNoing! Hope things turn out splendidly for you! ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember reading about your NaNos from . . . I think the rainbow one onward? Or maybe Heartseeker onward?
    My best-ever NaNo was probably 2014, when I wrote Between Two Worlds and I barely ran out of inspiration all month. Though 2013 was pretty good too, since I actually went over my goal. Worst NaNo was last year, when I found myself lacking inspiration many a time and spent most of the month annoyed with my characters to some extent.
    As for this year’s NaNo . . . if I do it, I’m going rebel. Beyond that, I still haven’t figured anything out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, probably! πŸ™‚
      Your 2014 NaNo experience sounds amazing. πŸ˜€ Going over the goal is impressive too… I’ve never done more than like 3K over. XD Oh dear, being annoyed with characters is never good.
      Well if you do do NaNo this year, I hope it’ll go well! Hope you’ll figure out what you’re doing! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think I got to almost 60K, aiming for 50K . . . one Camp NaNo, I more than doubled my goal, but that’s because I was writing Heartless fanfic and the only original thing I had to come up with was dialogue. xD
        Thank you! Same to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my goodness, this POOOOOST!!!! I LOVE IT SO. And the title is the best! Also the adorable banner at the top. And seeing all your NaNo adventures laid out like this is the most fun thing. I JUST LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST SO MUCH YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!!

    I love, love, LOVE how you titled each NaNo. That is too great. XD This actually got me all reminiscent since I’ve been right along with you since 2012. It made me remember all our emails and correspondences and things during these times and just made me feel all happy and nostalgic! AND thinking about all your amazing stories! <333

    I still can't believe you did NaNo during a cross-country trip. o.o I mean…WOW. You've had so many epic NaNo triumphs!

    I have a hard time figuring out my favorite NaNo. I THINK I'd have to say 2013, when I wrote More Green than Envy (Darven and Leiden's story). That year was kinda like your perfect year. The words just flowed, I pretty much never ran out of inspiration, I loved every second of it, and Darven and Leiden were just some of the most fun people to write. AND it was the first year I actually finished my story DURING NaNo. All my biggest NaNo records (like how many words I wrote total during a NaNo and such) are from that year as well. It was just a good year!
    But I also loooved the year following, because, well, I was writing Cael's story in More White than Stars. XD And to this day Iavin is still my favorite POV character to write ever. I just love being in his head for some reason! (Also that was the year I met you IN PERSON. So yeah, I have fond memories of NaNo 2014. ^_^)
    But ALSO, there's something so special about the first year of NaNo, nothing else is like it. So…I don't know! I just love NaNo! XD

    But ANYWAYS. This was the best read! I was glued to my screen the whole time. I JUST LOVED THIS IDEA. You're making me want to steal this idea! It would be fun to summarize writing the entire CoaDS series like this.

    THIS WAS JUST GREAT OKAY. I hope NaNo 2016 will be one of your best yet!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lauri! ^_^ (And I’m glad you like the banner. :D)

      YES, I can’t believe this will be the fifth NaNo we’ll have done alongside each other! o.o D’aww, you da sweetest! ❀

      Heehee, the cross-country one was definitely interesting. XD

      Yeah, I think More Green than Envy must have been your favorite — I have distinct awesome memories about your excitement about Darven and Leiden's story! But yes, also Iavin and Cael, OBVIOUSLY. πŸ˜‰ Soo… yep. (And YES, meeting!! <3) I guess ALL your NaNos are the best! πŸ˜‰ And you always do so amazing with your writing, going double the goal and everything! You just blow me away!!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚ And you should totally steal the idea, yus! πŸ˜€ That would be fun! Maybe after you do this NaNo? Or whenever. Yep, I'd love to read a post like that! πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much, and I hope your 2016 NaNo will be the best ever toooo!! ❀


  4. OH I LOVED THIS!! It’s so awesome to look back and compare different NaNo experiences. :’) This will be my 3rd year and like, writing a book in a month is not hard for me but for some reason THIS OUTLINE JUST COLLAPSED ABOUT MY EARS AND I’M LITERALLY GOING TO HAVE TO REWORK IT. And it’s so close to the 1st. Where is a mop BECAUSE I HAVE SO MANY TEARS TO SHED. Ahem.πŸ˜‚ But anyway! I love how you approached NaNo differently nearly every time. πŸ˜‰ AND WON!! You are an awesome inspiration to us all, you NaNo veteran!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eep, thank you, Cait!! πŸ™‚ Well it may be only your third year doing NaNo but it’ll be like your 21st novel?? So you’re way ahead of the rest of us, honestly. XD Oh nooo, that’s so awful about your outline! D: I hope you’ll get it figured out! *sends you chocolate and plotbunny help* I’m still in the beginning stages of plotting so I’m nervous too. πŸ˜› BUT WE CAN DO IIIIT!
      (On a side note, scolds WordPress for marking a lovely Cait comment as SPAM?? WHAT EVEN. -_-)


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