Nanowrimo 2017: A Reflection (Week 4)

And lo, Nanowrimo ended once again.

I always feel a little low and creatively exhausted after November, and it usually means that I stop writing for the rest of December and don’t pick it up again until the new year. A part of me think that’s ok; it’s perfectly fine to step back from your work for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes, but another part just wishes I could keep going because reaching 50,000 words doesn’t necessarily mean finishing the story. In fact, I’m far from it.

However, I’m so proud of myself that I reached 50,000 five days before the 30th! That wasn’t the plan, but I was 5000 words off before my work experience started, which meant I did no writing during the week because I couldn’t physically make myself while I was living on trains in the mornings and evenings and working all day. But, I did it. It’s there, 50,000 words of something that I want to turn into a manuscript and eventually, after many edits, send off to potential agents!


For visuals, I liked the idea of hitting my 2250 daily word goal each time so it looked like clean steps. But a boss lady ain’t got time for that.

As per usual, after every Nano I always question my story and lose faith in it. I think that’s normal – I think after working on something so intensely for so long makes you slightly sick of it, and I know deep down that I love this story and I love these characters, they just need molding into something phenomenal. And next year is gonna be their time.

For now, all my writing will be focused on blog posts and bullet journalling. But I’ll never stop myself if I ever feel the urge to write. Getting that feeling organically is so magical that I could never turn it down, so you never know, another 50,000 words might be on the cards this December?

But probably not.

If anyone’s interested in what I’ve been writing, I wrote a little blurb in my introductory post, and if you’re really interested in my work, I also have a Spotify playlist that I’ve been listening to while writing in November.

Let me know how you’ve done this year. Did you finish Nanowrimo completely? Did you meet your own personal goal? Let’s chat about writing in the comments!

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Nanowrimo 2017 – Week Two (09-15)

Good evening, welcome to week two of Nanowrimo.

Each week of Nanowrimo, I have been giving you updates on my progress, where my inspiration has been coming from, and my plans for the next week.

My plans for next week are; have my 50,000 words already completed. And it’s looking pretty good.


I’ve been working so hard to keep up with my 2,250 word daily goal. but it’s a steep incline to what I’m used to. I feel so guilty when I don’t reach it, and usually add it to the next day, which usually causes more stress. But hey, I love adding unnecessary stress! I’m still on track to reach 50,000 by the end of this week, and today I should be able to reach 40,000, so I’m thinking about the positives.

Week two has also been the week of doubting myself, I barely slept last night wondering what was the point of even finishing the novel. But, it’s normal and have those anxious thoughts with almost every story I think of and begin; sometimes it kills the novel, sometimes it spurs me on. I’m hoping that this time it will be the latter.

Depending on the scene I’m writing, my music inspiration changes. This week, while also still listening to Stranger Things mashups, I’ve also been listening to a lot of fun, upbeat songs that I like to use during my fight scenes. Because come on, what a duo!

How are you doing? Writing-wise but also in life?

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Nanowrimo 2017 – Week One (01-08)

Happy Nanowrimo writers!

So, we’re on our first update of the month, with one week already passing us by. How’s everyone’s writing going? Are those beginnings gripping? Are your characters introductions sparkling and intriguing? How’s your setting looking? All set up and explained? Your magic system air tight? Your governments villainous and mysterious? Your vampires sharpening their fangs? No?

Well, don’t worry, this is just a first draft.

I have had a pretty incredible first week of Nanowrimo 2017. Not that incredible because I was unwell for most of it, but also very incredible because it meant I was stuck in bed with my laptop, and I managed to write SO MUCH.



While each year I’ve managed to reach 50,000 words (sometimes just barely), this year is feeling a lot more like a race to the 20th. According to Nanowrimo, I should be completely finished by the 19th which is amazing?? I would love to be finished before my work experience, but I still have no problem with writing just a little bit while I’m away. But if I’m too tired or busy, apathy will set in. So, if I do finish on the 19th, it will be a big relief.

The story won’t be over though, oh no.

This week I’ve also been working with other writers and doing word sprints over on Twitter. So if, in the evenings, you’re ever about for some sprints, just @ me and I’ll probably be up for them! I’m in timezone GMT so the evenings might be mornings for you so keep that in mind when tweeting me! I’m hoping to do a lot more of them because they’ve been helping me get 4-500 words each time. They’re quick, around 15-20 minutes at a time, and it’s great motivation.

Music is a massive inspiration for this year’s WIP, and I do have a playlist for it. But this week, in particular, I’ve been listening to mashups of the Stranger Things theme and pop songs. How it links to my story? Not at all. But it’s working.


Also, picture inspiration is usually just anything I come across while scrolling aimlessly on Tumblr. Anything with neon lights at night in somewhere that’s maybe abandoned is kind of perfect. This week it’s this:



Here’s my introductory blog post on Nano this year, where I talk about my daily goals as well as a little bio about my WIP. Feel free to link me to any posts on your blog about your Nano updates as I’d love to read them, and let me know how you’re doing!

See you next week!

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Welcome, writers, to the best and most grueling month of the year.

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is upon us, and what better way to kick this off with a little post on my Nano-history, as well as introducing you to my story and what I’ll be talking about non-stop for the whole month.

I’m Hollie, I’m a book blogger, reader and writer, currently unemployed (for the 2nd November in a row) and will be starting work experience with Penguin Random House on the 20th November (AHHHH). I’ve taken part in Nanowrimo four times, and have won four times (no pressure eh?). I took part in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016, taking a break between 2011 and 2013 while I was at uni.

This year I’m gonna be writing a novel that I have actually already written. While other years I’ve used plots that I devised purely for Nano that year, this story has been rolling around in my head since around 2006. Yeah. It’s been crushed and morphed and moulded into something I hold dear to my heart, and actually wrote a 100,000 word draft of last year.

I came back to it. And I hate it.

I have since made a half-assed plan to re-write it; the setting, some of the characters and some of the plot is still there, but it’s no use going back through this draft and editing a ton; it needs a new start. And I’ve found that Nanowrimo has never done me dirty (as my four years shows). So! Here’s my working synopsis:

In a world where memories are traded, manipulated, and fabricated, one teenage girl is paranoid that a precious memory has been taken from her.

With the help of her best friend and his high school drop-out crush, she’s determined to break into the underworld of illegal memory manipulation to find the infamous ‘Storyteller’, a genius technician who’s work is notorious across the city, and who she believes is the only one who can make her life feel whole again.

But notoriety comes with enemies, including the son and heir to the company with the only legal ability to manipulate memories, who will stop at nothing to bring The Storyteller and the entire underground network to it’s knees.

Now, remember when I casually mentioned that on the 20th November, I’ll be starting a two week work experience with Penguin Random House that finishes on the 1st December? Yes. YES IT IS HAPPENING DURING NANOWRIMO. I’ve got a plan that might help me out or completely ruin me.

To get to 50,000 words by 30th November, I have to write 1,666 words a day. But because of my work experience, I’m going to have next to no free time. I’m going to be in the office or on a cramped train or sleeping. I’m going to be leaving the house at around 7am and getting in at 7pm. I don’t want to completely stop writing for my two weeks, especially while being IN the publishing industry and being surrounded by book lovers and writers. So, I’ve decided I want to, instead of reaching 33,333 on the day my w/e starts (20th), I’m planning on reaching 45,000 words. That means I should be a whole 7 days ahead of myself. I can write, but I would only have 5,000 words to achieve in 2 weeks.

I can manage that right?

So, my daily word count goal for the next 20 days? 2,250.


I can do this. I can do this. *heavy sigh*

As usual, I’m going to be posting weekly updates on my progress, including music and picture inspiration, and my Nano profile is here. Let me know if you’re doing Nano and make sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates of me screaming into the abyss!

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“Well, what CAN I write?”

I often hear that question in all book community circles. in replies of tweets or in Youtube and Instagram comments sections. I’ve heard it during panels at conventions, talks, and interviews.

Publishing is changing. The Young Adult community is growing and becoming more vocal, including the voices of marginalized groups such as POC and LGBTQ groups. Publishing thrives on readership and what people want to read. There’s a rise in vampire romance readership? More vampire romance novels gets printed. This is more or less the same in any publishing departments, but Young Adult communities in particular are thriving on the need for change. But, in all forms of it, there are some that don’t really understand the change; they may find it hostile or angry or even radical.

But questions like these, questions from white writers posed to POC readers and writers are important in our understanding or what it means to write diversely and how important it is.

I’m a white writer. As in, I’m white and a writer. Those two things do not usually correlate, but the more we talk about race and privilege, the more I and many others can see how these two things do affect one another. As a white person, I am more likely to identify and relate to a white character, maybe on a more subconscious level. I don’t exactly exclaim “Huh, she’s white. I like her.” I also see people like me in fiction; in movies, television and of course, in books. As a writer, I may find it automatic to write about white people (though definitely what I aim for). And hey, a white person writing about white people is fine, normal in fact.

But as publishing progresses, as writing and reading change, it is obvious that an all-white cast of characters, especially coming from a white person, is unrealistic. The world is not white people, it never was, but now that people are listening, now that POC writers are finally getting a chance to publish their work, it’s more important than ever for white writers to not get stuck in the old ways, to not see their worlds as all white people, to understand that white stories are not the only stories.

However, there is a difference between writing diversely and writing the stories that are not yours.

Ownvoices emerged as we began to celebrate the stories of gay teens by gay writers, about black teens and their struggles with racism written by black writers. Ownvoices was and still is a rejection of white stories being the only story. And yet, many white writers will have a POC protagonist with racist portrayals and dangerous depictions.

You see Twitter threads and blog posts and articles, explaining why an all-white cast won’t do, and how white writers writing ‘outside their lane’ won’t do too. And it’s where this question comes from ‘Well, what CAN I write?’, but this question is redundant.

Writers, ultimately, can write whatever they want. But it does not mean they are free from criticism. If you are getting annoyed that you cannot write an all-white cast but also cannot write a poorly researched, problematic depiction of a black, gay, disabled, mentally ill etc. protagonist, then should you really be writing at all?

I don’t think anyone has ‘the answer’ to what you can and cannot write. You’re going to mess up, and you’re going to have criticism. It’s normal and should be welcomed. Only you can decide what to write, but I think it’s important to understand that if you write a story about POC, as a white writer, you’re going to be picked to get published over a POC writer with a story about POC.

And is that right?

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So, I did it. I wrote 50,000 words in the 30 days. But, let’s be honest, it was not as fun as it usually is.


The last two Nanos have been fantastic. Completely original and organic plots that I managed to fit in a whole 50,000 words. And, while I have no plans to edit/try to publish these stories, I seemed to have had a lot more fun writing them, as well as getting excited about them. On reflection, this is not the case with this year’s Nanowrimo.

Why? You may ask. Well, there are a lot of factors that I’ve thought about that may contribute to this, but the most jarring one is this; I am not the same person I was during the last two Nanos.

While I’m struggling with concentration, stress, and focus, it does not mean that I’m going to give this story up. Not only was I writing in a genre that I’ve never written in before (High Fantasy), I also had a plot that didn’t necessarily have a middle or an end. I had started to make a plan, but then November started and I just had to go and write.

It began easy; I had this beautiful idea of having a LGBT romance set in a Russian/Nordic inspired land with outlawed magic and mad Princes. I could picture all the settings, the way people spoke, and certain scenes I was excited to write. But, without a framework to base this on, without a linear plan of events, after about 20,000 words, I hit a wall. Writing scenes became bothersome and reaching my daily word count felt like a chore.

It doesn’t make writing easier when you become obsessed with a show that updates with clips in real time. But we won’t talk about SKAM in another post.

I’m glad I took part in this year’s Nanowrimo; it really pushed me as a writer at a low point in my life. I’m glad I found at least some solace in writing and thinking about the story that I wanted to create (at least at the beginning) and I definitely have plans to get it written completely and, hopefully, published.

How did everyone else’s Nano go? I love reading about other people’s experiences!

Nanowrimo Week One | Nanowrimo Week Two | Nanowrimo Week Three

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Welcome to Nanowrimo Week THREE, where the end is near and your crying just got more dramatic. I haven’t picked a book up in so long because I just can’t stop thinking about this novel I’m writing. I’ve day dreamed about it, had actual dreams about it, and often forgotten that the plot I’m thinking of isn’t a plot from a novel I’m reading, but a novel I’m writing, and that’s exciting!

However, my stats are not:


My WIP will be nowhere near finished when I reach 50,000. Because it’s a high fantasy, it is a part of a genre that is known for being long, and that’s exactly what it’s coming to. No big action-y stuff is happening, and you’re still only getting to know the characters, and I’m already at 34,000!

As you can tell by the super intimidating graph that has been spurring me on this whole time, I hit a bump in the road this weekend when I left the house for a day or two. Crazy, I know. Friday morning, I was able to write 600 words and was then off to a Panic! At The Disco concert. I didn’t get back home to my laptop until Saturday afternoon, when I was then whisked off to the cinema to see Doctor Strange. My novel suffered (and I did too in regards to the amount of hours sleep I got).

I hope to get to at least 35,000 by the end of today, and maybe even push it to 36,000 if I can.

Music Inspiration:

Picture Inspiration:


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