Why I Quit NaNoWriMo (And Why I Won’t Be Doing It Again)

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You heard it here first, folks. I’m officially a NaNoWriMo quitter. A few weeks ago I listed a few reasons that I’d be trying NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and about a week into the journey I started to realize it might not be the platform for me after all.

Turns out I was right. I’m not a fan of NaNoWriMo at all.

Before I get into why I quit and won’t be back, I don’t think NaNoWriMo is all negative. It’s a great reminder to start the writing project you’ve had in mind forever or finish the one you already have started. And it’s certainly a lesson in consistency and dedication. Even though I won’t be participating next year, I know seeing all the NaNo posts will remind me to get back to the keyboard.

Why I Quit

I touched on the main reason I decided to stop NaNoWriMo in my Week 1 Update – I’d rather write a clean 50,000 words slowly than a sloppy 50,000 words in a month. Unless you have writing superpowers rivaled only by the greats, then there’s no way you’re writing a good 1,700 words every day. At a certain point (aka day 2) you’re sweating just trying to hit your word count for the day, never mind rereading what you’ve written every few paragraphs or keeping an eye on your sentence structure and grammar.

For some people pounding out a quick novel and then spending three times as much effort on editing it is the way to go – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – but it’s not my style at all. I’d rather do some light editing as I go and only have to do one major round of editing once the book is done. 

And on a completely different note, November is one of the least convenient months – second only to December – to have to sit down and write nonstop. It’s the start of the busy season at most jobs, the time of year when all the holiday mayhem starts, and when there are SO. MANY. things to do.

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Do You Do NaNoWriMo?

The ABC Book Challenge – I

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Read:

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I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is one of the most relevant and important books of the decade. Malala was shot by the Taliban for standing up for human rights, particularly female education.

Immortal City by Scott Speer is a book that I read a looooong time ago. It was my Twilight rebound, and although I don’t remember much about the story, I remember that it kept my attention.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs is a nonfiction account of Harriet Jacobs’s life as a slave and her escape to freedom. It’s one of the most well-known slave accounts from the period.


To be Read:

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I am Apache by Tanya Landman / I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe / Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Random Book Haul, Otherwise Known as ‘I Have No Self Control’

About two months ago (around the time I was cataloging my books and realizing my book buying habits are far exceeding the time I have to read) I told myself I would buy absolutely no more books until the Bookoutlet Black Friday sale that I do every year. No books checked out from the library, no more ARCs, no trips to my local used books store, NOTHING.

And today I have a book haul for you, so obviously that didn’t work out. A city about an hour away from me has a monthly warehouse book sale where you get to fill up a grocery bag with books for $10. Since I just have soooooo much free time on my hands I decided to drop everything and drive up, and I came home with 10 books – making each a dollar, in case you’re doing the math.

Here’s what I got:

And here’s a bonus book that I convinced my dad to buy me because Pride and Prejudice and Christmas and Melissa de la Cruz and cover that made me drool:

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I’m telling myself that now that I have all these new-to-me books I won’t be participating in the Book Outlet Black Friday sale, but we’ll see…

What book have you bought recently?

Cataloging My Book Collection!

We’ve all been there. Standing in our favorite used book store, or carefully hunting through Barnes and Noble, or even perusing our local library. We see a book that looks amazing and we buy it and bring it home and slide it on our shelf (or stack it next to our full bookcases…) only to realize at some distant point in the future that we already had a copy.

I finally had enough of trying to remember which books I owned and which I didn’t. Plus, I’m a total control freak and list connoisseur so not having a record of my books was about to drive me crazy. A few years ago I’d tried to make an excel spreadsheet that had the book’s title, author, series or standalone, and ‘status’ (ie. read or unread), but it was a bear to keep up with and a book haul or two later it was beyond updating.

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So this time around I knew that I needed some sort of online database or app to help me keep track. Basically, I wanted something to do half of the work for me and make it appealing to keep up with.

I had three main requirements:
1. I needed to be able to upload my books quickly and easily. Scanning capabilities preferred!
2. I needed to be able to mark whether my books were ‘read’ or ‘unread’
3. I needed to be able to access my book list on my phone,
whether through an app or in the browser.

I scoured the internet and read a ton of articles about keeping track of books and settled on Libib. Libib has both an app and a website, the ability to mark the status of your books and add different tags and categories, and a built-in scanning feature.

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The scanning feature is AHMAZING. If you’ve got a lot of books scanning the barcode is going to save you sooooo much time it’s ridiculous. But make sure you pay attention when you’re scanning. Every now and then one of my books would scan incorrectly and I’d have to delete it and re-scan…

But most of the time when I re-scanned it still popped up wrong. When I first started scanning books I would just enter an errant scan manually, typing the book title and author in by hand. Then I realized you can type the ISBN in when you’re on the scanner screen! That’s was a huge plus because I have a fair amount of used books with stickers over the barcode and a handful of books that were so old they didn’t have barcodes at all.

It only took me a couple of hours to get all my books added. I started to edit the status of my books (whether they were read or not) and tag my reference copies from school and work, but it was pretty slow going on my phone. I popped the website up on my computer and found it was much, much easier to alter books on the website.

And now… now I will shame myself.

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I currently own 523 books and I’ve only read… wait for it… 137. To be fair at least 21 of those books are reference, which makes it better right? RIGHT?

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Are your books cataloged? What system did you use?

The ABC Book Challenge – H

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Read:

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a novel set in Mississippi in the 1960’s, right in the heart of Jim Crow. The book and the movie are both amazing and pack a serious punch.

Holes by Louis Sachar was probably the most loved book/movie combo of my childhood. It’s not something I would typically reach for, but holy cow is it good.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff is a science fiction YA that’s all about survival as the third world war breaks out. There’s a lot of action packed into a short 194 pages, so if you’re looking for a quick read with some meaning this is the book for you.


To be Read:

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Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry / Hey Ladies by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss / The home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

NaNoWriMo – Week 1

My first week of NaNoWriMo is officially over! Technically it’s only been 4 days, since the challenge started on the Thursday, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting behind.

NaNo Week 1

As you can see, I’m about 2,000 words short of where I should be today. I’m still really happy with my progress! I decided to do NaNoWriMo to get myself back on track with my WIP (stay tuned for an official title reveal in the next month or so!) and that’s definitely happened. I’d put Blooming Grove and all the people in it out of my mind while I took a few graduate classes, and now that I’m writing again I can’t stop thinking about the story and where I want it to go. I’m also writing at a much faster pace than I did with The Rancher’s Runaway Bride, so that’s a win in my opinion too.

I’ve discovered in the last four days that the trick to NaNoWriMo is spitting out as many words as you can and worrying about the editing later. That’s not my writing style at all and I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m not hitting my word count goal. I like to write a really polished first draft that only needs 1 round of legit editing and then a quick read through in printed form for typos. To write what I’d call 1,700 good words it can take me anywhere from 2-4 hours (sometimes more if I’m super distracted), and a lot of times that’s not feasible for me.

I’m going to keep chugging along! I’m so excited to have the ball rolling again on my second book! Eek!

Are you doing NaNowrimo? How far along are you?