Posted in Atlantic City books, Word Count, Writing

IWSG—My ninth official NaNo


It’s time again for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which meets the first Wednesday of every month to commiserate over worries, fears, doubts, and struggles.

This month’s question is:

November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

This is my ninth official NaNo, and my twelfth overall. I unofficially participated in 2010, 2011, and 2012, though I didn’t sign up because I mistakenly believed the objective was to write a book complete at only 50,000 words. Once I discovered you don’t have to complete your book and that 50K is just the bare minimum, I finally signed up. I later retroactively, honestly added my wordcount from those three unofficial Novembers to my stats page.

The reason I didn’t participate in 2013 was because I was having a lot of computer issues and only was able to work on three chapters of Dark Forest. My fan’s broken left vent was making unbearably loud noises constantly, and the computer was also having a few other issues. I didn’t write anywhere close to 50K that month.

The technical issues temporarily resolved, though they later came back and were so unbearable I had no choice but to get a new (used) computer in August 2014. Amazingly, that 2007 MacBook Pro laptop still works! I need to use it every so often to get old photos from my library, and when I need a backup for my current younger computer. It also has an awesome collection of Solitaire games which isn’t compatible with newer computer software.

Perhaps because I rarely use that computer anymore, and usually don’t use it for very long stretches, the fan noise has much improved.

As discussed in my October IWSG post, I decided to work on a near-total gut renovation of Almost As an Afterthought: The First Six Months of 1941 for NaNo 2022. I really hope I can redeem myself for my poor showings the last two years, only 53K in 2020 and barely crawling across the finish line with 50,051 in 2021 at ten minutes to midnight.

While lockdown did wreck my mental health and trigger my cyclical depression, I didn’t take enough personal responsibility for keeping my writing momentum afloat. Like Rustico in the most famously raunchy story of The Decameron, I shrugged and surrendered without a battle instead of fighting for what I know I’m capable of.

Since 2017, I’ve counted my blog posts as creative nonfiction towards my NaNo wordcount. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to win in 2017 if I hadn’t included my 12-part series “The Jazz Singer at 90.” Writing that series gave me back my writing mojo when it was at such a low point, and finally made me excited and confident about my writing for the first time in a long time.

This year, I wrote as many November posts in advance as possible, so I can devote most of my time and energies to Almost As an Afterthought.

The key storyline of Almost As an Afterthought is Cinni’s longing to enroll in her school’s progressive track when she starts junior high, and her ever-increasing love of history. Her mother is adamantly opposed to it, and wants Cinni to remain in the general track. Kit wants to move to the progressive track too, and her mother, whom she’s always had a very acrimonious relationship with, is also opposed.

Meanwhile, many of their friends decide to take the qualifying tests and apply for scholarships. It would mean the world to Cinni if they could all stay together and have such a golden opportunity for a better future.

Until last year, I was always a NaNo overachiever. My all-time best year was 2018, when I wrote almost 131K. In 2019, I pulled 101K. If I can redeem myself and prove I’m still capable of writing a few thousand words a day, I hope that can carry through to post-NaNo writing, as it did in 2017.

And if I not only win but return to real overachieving, I’ll reward myself with my dozenth ear piercing, combined with the second nostril piercing I hope I can get for my birthday in December (after very unhappily being forced to cancel at the last minute last year).

Are you participating in NaNo this year? Have you done it in the past, and what was your experience like?


Writer of historical fiction sagas and series, with elements of women's fiction, romance, and Bildungsroman. Born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

8 thoughts on “IWSG—My ninth official NaNo

  1. The first couple of years I did NaNo, I wrote the story by hand and then transcribed it on the computer. That slowed down my word count!


  2. Carrie-Anne and writers more or less insecure:

    What are your favourite solitaire games?

    I remember Eric’s Ultimate Solitaire and also a long time ago these games from the Software Publishing Corporation. [Long time ago: 1998 at the earliest; possibly 1995 for some of the separate ones. Eric’s Ultimate Solitaire I first encountered in the second half of 1993-first half of 1994].

    My favourite single solitaire game is Egyptian Solitaire [from Macworld UK’s May 1995 CD-ROm disc] and I have also enjoyed the clock game [this is one my grandmother taught me with real live playing cards].

    In the IF MONKS HAD MACS package there is a small game called KILLING TIME which lots of medievalists love [and Dante might very well have enjoyed it in his peacock moments].

    [you can probably tell I am a bit sad about Dante and PEACOCKS and how it didn’t go in last year’s NaNoWriMo. I do recognise ALMOST AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT as a passion project – especially in those 2 paragraphs you wrote about it].

    First NaNoWriMo experience was November 2002 after some people on a message board were in a friendly competition. That group were some intense writers and creative people.


    2004 was my second and I did it on my own. [ENTITLEMENT]

    Then there was 2006 and I wrote a RENT fanfiction. [IN DAYLIGHT AND IN DARKNESS]

    And 2007 I worked on my dream book – YELLOW GIRL.

    Then there was 2008 and COULD BE COUSIN. Or else 2009. That story / book is on Scribd somewhere.

    A long time in the 2010s I did not participate until 2016 and the concept of NaNoWriMo camp. April – four essays; July – THE MAJELLA PROJECT.

    [the MAJELLA PROJECT is probably the last long-short fiction I have written and is out in the public].

    Probably across all of those projects…


    It probably does take writers a while to realise that 50,000 words is the minimum especially if they are not in the writing business or they want to do this as a stretch/passion project to get their work out there.

    When you said:

    “While lockdown did wreck my mental health and trigger my cyclical depression, I didn’t take enough personal responsibility for keeping my writing momentum afloat. Like Rustico in the most famously raunchy story of The Decameron, I shrugged and surrendered without a battle instead of fighting for what I know I’m capable of.”

    Oh, yes!

    And it is important to know WHEN and HOW to shrug and surrender.

    Rustico really is a resilient type, isn’t he?

    I think of other literary fighters and flights and freezes [and flopping; flooding and fawning]



    Today’s laptops!

    The ones with M1 and M2.

    As for the iThings – iPad Airs in particular…

    Writing outdoors is very appealing. And photographing outdoors.

    PJ MacLayne: This is what I did in 2006 and 2007. [and in 2002 for THE BIG ISSUES – at least part of it].

    [and, yes, it is a big drag on wordcount depending on what we do and how we work.

    The positive side: it makes you think harder what you would put down.

    The negative side: when you work so hard in your head to transcribe outside the head it makes you feel/fall out of touch].


    I loved that Demotivator about “Being a good writer”.

    And I am wondering about the attribution for the astronaut/cosmonaut

    [the picture and the statement].

    [yells that there is no Alt Text or Image Description].


    the way that the NaNoWriMo projects are selected in 2022 is so cool.

    [remember my last active one was in 2016 – though around camp July 2021 and 2022 I did have an opportunity to check the forums and their new norms and rules].

    It is roughly Novel; Short Stories; Biography; Memoir; Nonfiction…

    [and there was one other non-fiction option or another format/genre?]

    And then I wonder about the dynamics between Cinni and Kit and their mothers.

    [remembering how much I enjoyed FEAST AND FAST this 4th July – wow; four months since!]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope NaNoWriMo works out for you good this year. You sound like you’ve done way better than I have; I just don’t have the attention span to write a novel.

      Boy I love looking at the inside of a computer! So fascinating! That’s the good thing about holding onto an outdated PC, you can run programs such as certain games that you can’t run on newer PCs.


      1. Hey Steven:

        I too have trouble with attention and concentration span.

        Thank you for the good wishes and I wish them to you in turn.

        Remember that NaNoWriMo is not only for novels – maybe you might write poetry or a short story or again, a piece of non-fiction.

        Looking inside computers really is cool. I remember when I was at Vincent the Dog [an inner-city cafe] some years ago and I was privileged to see inside a laptop.

        My younger self could well have taken Electrotechnology and Systems: Infotechnology [or Information and Communications Technology {the “harder” course and a different kind of practical to IT: Applications}].

        The Vincent the Dog model laptop was a fairly modern iMac.

        And it is important to remember that the writers we admire are really made of the same starstuff as ours.

        And that we do see their innards the way we see our computers and laptops.

        [or indeed How a Sausage is Made for the foodies among you].

        I never call a PC “outdated” [especially in the age of Planned Obsolescence – which has been since the mid-2000s and when MacOSX came out of the picture] – they or their hardware/software can be outMODED [more like fashion this way].

        Certainly I never expected a late 2015 iMac to last this long with me. It began to have some moderate difficulties in mid-late 2019. Of course COVID-19 may well have got in the way of a new or lighter/less modular platform.

        One of the things about an Apple is that you are NOT tempted to solder the thing yourself despite this being what Wozniak and Jobs did these many years ago with the very first Apples and the hobbyist model.

        [Of course many DECADES ago – I mean 1976 and 1977 which is a bit before my time though I did read Steven Wehyrich and his History of the Apple through my Macintosh User Group magazine in 1993-95 – and my organisation was an Apple Users Society].

        The Apple Folklore site is absolutely fantastic and so is the Macintosh Garden. And then the Web/Internet Archive gives us so very much even though there are gaps.

        Maybe you could write something about your passion for computer hardware and history…

        [my suggestion to Steve may have an element of how I think attention and concentration in our writing projects evolve and develop – through an interest system developed by the late Dinah Murray].

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I guess if a PC can still be used for general purposes at least regardless of what advanced models have been made then they really can’t be outdated. Even if they can be, these older models are still important artifacts of computer history. I still hold onto an old laptop of mine that no longer is practically useful, but also for the reason that I have to many pretty stickers on it to get rid of! Lol

          Maybe I’ll do a short story for NaNo next year.


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