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The Beginning of NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo has begun. I'm a wreck but loving it!

It started. This weekend. I began to pour out my thoughts and weave a story.

A completely fictional, I made it up, putting everything I have into this… story.

As you may recall, November 1st commenced the NaNoWriMo challenge (30 days to write a 50,000+ word novel). As of Sunday night I was at 7410 words. I’m pleased with my progress but I also have some anxieties….

My NaNoWriMo workspace - day 1

I’m not going to lie and I’m going to be completely honest here, these are some of the thoughts that have already crossed my mind:

  • What was I thinking?
  • I don’t have the time for this.
  • I’ll never be able to write 50,000 words!
  • I’ll be lucky if I hit 15,000.
  • I’m going to drink my weight in coffee before the month is over.
  • I have to pee but I can’t stop writing now.
  • No, I need to stop, I really have to pee.
  • Nooooo! I can’t stop, I must keep writing!
  • I should have bought Depends undergarments as part of my NaNoWriMo survival kit.
  • Jennifer what’s wrong with you?! Just go to the bathroom before you give yourself a UTI.
  • Just need to type one more paragraph….
  • If I just had one more hand I could drink coffee and keep on typing.
  • Ooooh, a catheter and a caffeine IV… that’s what I need.
  • I should go to bed.
  • I can’t sleep… I keep on thinking of scenes in the book.
  • I might as well just write the scenes instead of thinking about them.
  • Just go to sleep!
  • I shouldn’t have drank so much coffee… that’s why I’m awake.
  • Oh my goodness, will I ever sleep again, or am I going to be a manuscript writing zombie for the entire month?!

So the secret is out. When I get into something… I get INTO something. I submerge myself fully and completely. This is my task. This is my mission. This is my challenge.

So let’s say I only write 25,000 words… well, I won’t “win” NaNoWriMo but I’ll still be 25,000 words closer to writing that novel I would have never otherwise written.

You see, the passion isn’t in the outcome but it’s in the journey.

I’m a passionate person. This is my journey. Thank you for meeting me at the beginning of it.

Have you ever entered NaNoWriMo, or something like it? Any tips for a newbie?


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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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65 thoughts on “The Beginning of NaNoWriMo

  • Ceil

    Hi Jennifer! I have never done anything like your writing challenge, and I’m so in awe of you! I don’t know if I would be up to the work and producing that many words. I will be following your progress and adventures! I congratulate you, and wish you every blessing and plenty of ideas to keep going too :)
    Happy Monday! (Depends are on sale!!)

  • Lauren

    Wow, you’re off to an amazing start!! Way to go!!!
    I’m just over 5000 and pretty happy with that. I write as much as I can before the kids wake up (they were up at 5 am this morning, so umm… not much happening so far today :P ) and then a sentence here and there throughout the day. We’ll see where I am on Nov. 30th. Probably 6000, haha.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m pretty happy with my progress so far. I really hope I can keep up at this pace. Then I could spend the last week of November editing my manuscript. I want to make this happen… but it’s a crazy month, so we’ll see how I do.

      Thanks for the encouragement my friend!

  • Tiffany-A Touch of Grace

    In one night you’re already over 7000 words in! You are going to blow that 50,000 words out of the park!
    And your thoughts totally cracked me up. It’s so hard to stop when you’re really into something!

    Good luck on writing today!

  • Elizabeth

    You’re doing great! And I think you’re on to something with the Depends! LOL. Last year was my first Nano and I LOVED it. And hated it. And cried over it. And LOVED it. Squeaked in under the wire with my 50k and spent the entire year editing it. Now that book is in the works of heading to publication and the sequel is this year’s project. You’re ahead of me! I hit 5,840 today and I’m content with that. I figure if you need to write 1,667 words a day to “win” then I’m right on track so far. My advice? Just keep writing! Don’t edit. Don’t spell check. Don’t read what you’ve already written. Just go, girl, go! You can fix it later. If you start fiddling with it now you’ll never finish. Just get it on paper. Also… hook up with your local group. Especially after Nano ends they host some really great free workshops for the winners about how to edit and how to work toward publication. They are amazing opportunities to learn and to network with people in the business. Keep up the great work! You are an awesome writer. You’ve got this!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words!

      Your advice is great! When I went into this I told myself not to stop to read or edit… just write everything down. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m already over 10,000 words.

      I get anxious about social settings, so I was a bit dismissive about the write-ins. After hearing your advice, I might have to get over that anxiety and check it out.

      Thanks again for the tips and the encouraging words! I truly appreciate it.

  • Amanda @ Growing Up Madison

    Jennifer I applaud you for even trying because I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t do it. You’re much stronger than you think and I just know that YOU can do this! I can’t wait to read what you have to say. You just have to share it with us. btw I’m here laughing up at the depends and the catheter. Sometimes I feel that way when I’m in bed and just too lazy to get up and use the bathroom. :) Here’s to a great week my friend!

  • Brittany Bullen


    You can do it! This is so exciting. I can live vicariously through you! I’m excited to hear how you enjoy the experience, maybe I’ll get inspired to try it next year.

    I’m so like you– I tend to obsess. But that’s just a sign that you’re onto something amazing! Way to go, lady!


  • Susan Raber

    Thirty days of crazy is a small price to pay for a 50,000 word first draft! I’m enjoying watching my blogging friends go for NaNoWriMo this year – everyone seems to have gotten off to a good start.

    Don’t forget to build up some momentum (and extra wordage) to get you through Thanksgiving week !

  • Jaime Buckley

    Jennifer, you got a shirt!?? COOLNESS!

    I tend to shy away from merchandise…but now I want one.

    Frankly, I don’t think you obsess. I think you’re brilliant and perfectly organized. You like details. You deal with details. It doesn’t make YOU ‘obsessive’…it makes other people less prepared!

    Hah! See how I totally supported you there? Oh yeah–you’ve got this…and you’re stompin’ me, too!!

    However, you have inspired me to write a reply to your lists on my own blog and link back to this article.

    Give me a few minutes…..

    (*we now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging comments*)

  • Tamara

    ha, your thought process sounds like mine!
    I didn’t do this challenge because it wasn’t for me at this time, but I love it and I think it’s wonderful and I look forward to reading everyone’s posts.

  • Bijee

    WHOA! yes you have dove right in! If you already have over 7k words, you can do this! I had never heard of this until the recent buzz on the interwebs. It sounds amazing if you have the time for it! I am wishing you the best of luck on this journey and I cant wait until you share what you come up with, pretty certain its gonna have awesome all over it.

  • Ana Lynn

    Guess what? Gulp… I signed up for it too. I’m not gonna lie, you are the reason behind it and I decided to just turn our story from rough draft into an actual novel. I pretty much am haunted by “What the heck am I doing” thought daily but I am consoled by the fact that I have 19k words in there. I need a more solid beginning and I need to edit the draft. But even if I don’t make it all the way to 50000 words, I will be one step closer to finishing it and that’s more than what I have right now! Fingers crossed for both of us!

  • Robin Kramer Writes

    Color me impressed. I’m definitely not up for this challenge now, primarily because I’m on a *READING* splurge now — not stacks of awesome fiction, but rather a boatload of student essays.

    Happy writing! I loved your inner dialogue! (Glad to know I’m not the only one who debates herself…. ;)

  • Debbie

    Hi Jennifer, sounds like you are doing just fine and all your reactions are totally normal…I get like that just writing a blog post!

    The image of a really good writer is someone who gets totally submerged in what they are doing. Writing madly, but writing from the heart…..I can imagine a photograph of you at the end of the month, all wild eyed and with hair that looks like it’s never seen a hairdresser or a comb!…Madly muttering to yourself whilst nibbling on the odd nail that managed to grow past the nailbed!

    The first coffee of the day is kicking in, so I’m going to head over and check out what you’ve written so far…….

  • Debbie

    Hi Jennifer…Only me again, tried clicking your NaNoWriMo badge to read what you’ve written so far and can’t…Even went to Wattpad to hunt you down….With no luck!….Are you sharing what you’ve written so far or are you keeping it under wraps until you are finished?

  • Rebecca

    I’m so proud of you!!! I love your all in attitude and your gung-ho enthusiasm!!! You got this- as long as you have coffee, you got it! And I’ve definitely contemplated an invention that allows me to pee at my desk lol an iPee?

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Wow! You go girl! I can’t believe how much you have written already. That’s incredible to me. I’ve been writing my book on marriage for a long time and I’m just over 13,000 words. It is so cool to think that someday I may be holding your book in my hands and reading it. Keep up the great work! It’s going to be a long month, but it will change your life. We’re all rooting for you.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m beginning to wonder if I can hit the 50,000 mark. I’m wondering if my story has enough steam. We’ll see… my book may have more flashbacks than I originally planned for.

      Thank you for the kind and encouraging words Heather. I appreciate it.

  • Debbie

    Hi Jennifer…I’m definitely having one of those mornings….When asking my daughter how I would find what you’ve written on Wattpad, she rolled her eyeballs and explained to me (in very simple English) that I could only read her Camp NaNoWriMo story on Wattpad as she uploaded it to Wattpad and not because the competition was being held on WattPad.

    I had always thought that The Camp NaNoWriMo she did was a competition on WattPadd and not a separate thing all together. …So that is my first lesson of the day!…

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Hilarious! While you were having “one of those mornings”, I was snuggled into bed, ending my day.

      Yes, there will be no reading of the book until it’s done and edited. I’m not sure if there’s even a function to allow it to be read prior to publication.

      I’m glad your daughter could help you figure it out.

  • Chris Carter

    Ahh…. You are TOO cute!!! And what an enormous challenge you have taken on my friend!!!! I am SO impressed with your goal and how far you have come ALREADY!!!

    You CAN do this.

    Just make sure to get up and pee.

    Oh, how I get this. I am holding mine in as I write this very comment. TRUTH!!

  • MB

    I wish I could be as brave as you. I always said I would try to write a novel, but the thought of it intimidates me so much. I keep wondering if maybe I’m just not cut out for writing longer than a column. I envy and am impressed that you’re doing this! And I love your blog posts, so I’m sure your novel will be great!

    I’m totally intrigued with participating in this program in the future. Maybe that’s the one thing that will force me to just do it and write a novel, whether it’s good, bad or neutral. When I first started blogging in 2010, that’s pretty much what happened. I lobbied to write for a website that was just starting out without much knowledge of what I was getting into. I pushed myself because I hate to break a promise to anyone and wrote. It kind of led me here.

    Wishing you the best of luck! Good for you!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Steph @MisplacedBrit

    Hahaha! No way! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    But that’s hilarious… You might have to add more milk and less coffee the longer the night goes on :-) …By 11pm I’m 4/5 hot milk 1/5 coffee

    You can do it! …And I can’t wait to read it.

  • Jessica Dimas

    Hahahahaha, oh my gosh you have me laughing so hard at the thoughts going through your head! You are so cute! I think this is SO cool though, because soooo many of us (writers especially, obviously) have goals like this that we’ll “one day” do, and this challenge is just forcing you to DO IT!!! So proud of you for rolling up your sleeves and getting in there, very inspiring. And it sounds tiring, but it sounds so full of passion that it’s contagious. I want to feel that engrossed!

  • Amber

    Good luck! You can do it! I’m always tempted to try it, but I’m never sure if I’ll finish or not. If it’s not too late to sign up, I might be tempted…

  • Charlee

    I have to say, I love your small desk. There is no room to put paper clutter! I need something like that. And I love your organized calendar with post-its!

    Anyways, sounds like you are well on your way to writing a crazy good book! I am sure you’ll have many sleepless nights thinking about your plot unfolding. When I get really passionate about something, I can’t sleep either!

  • Lysa

    Hi Jennifer!

    Your thoughts/conversations with yourself sound so very familiar as I do the same thing when immersed in a project. It sounds like you are off to a wonderful start on your novel. Even though you did not plan on writing it, isn’t it funny once you have the idea and story in your head and begin the writing process how your brain takes over and before you know it you have a “real” story in the makings? I so love that part of the creative writing process.

    You are a very dedicated woman and from what I have learned about you via our blogs I know you will succeed even your own expectations. The doubts along the way are normal just don’t feed into them. Looking forward to reading the masterpiece once complete!


  • Topaz

    Squeal! I am so happy for you and so proud of you! You are doing it! Your list of thoughts is hysterical! I knew you were wanting to write a book. I had no idea it would be fiction. I am working on a non-fiction book, and I told one of my fiction writer friends a couple of months ago that to me the real writers are the fiction writers. They take nothing and make something…right from thin air. One minute there is nothing, and the next you have characters and a story. That is magic. The really amazing thing about it is that we both write with similar messages. We just get there a different way. I love how God does that with us. But seriously…non-fiction is pure magic. I’m so excited for you! Cheering you on! xo

  • Farrah

    I am so inspired by your start! It sounds like the story is already pouring out of you. For the coffee problem, I suggest a Camelbak. It would at least make an excellent picture for #mommyreality. Happy NaNoWriMo!