Friday, November 26, 2010

Nano Guest: Andra Marquardt

Nano-part2010Welcome to A.L. Marquardt, author of A Reason For Hope, as my next guest blogger, here to talk about her experiences with Nanowrimo!


A few weeks ago Loraine kindly asked me to write a guest post on her blog about Nanowrimo. Honestly, I've been so busy writing and thinking about my novel I've been having a difficult time coming up with something to write about Nanowrimo that was somewhat interesting.

But here goes anyway. Using the same technique I use for writing novels, I'm gonna wing it and see what happens.

2005 was the first year I tackled Nanowrimo, and to my utter surprise I not only won, but ended up with the start of a novel I like to this day. In fact after a few more rounds of editing, I plan on submitting it to some literary agents.

I tried again in 2006, this time giving fantasy a try (my first was science fiction). Although I won again, I ended up hating the story. However, I did end up with some really good characters, so it wasn't a total loss. I plan on giving that one another go eventually by keeping the same characters but changing the setting and some of the secondary plot lines.

2007 was the year I was seven months pregnant with my son. Suffering from what a friend calls "prego-brain," I managed a mere 12k words before I realized I didn't have the mental power to continue. Again, not a total loss, because I managed 12k more words than I would have had.

I skipped 2008 & 2009 because taking care of a little boy takes a lot of time and energy.

With my son close to three and not needing as much constant attention, I decided to give it one more go. I also tackled it a bit differently. I planned ahead with my storyline, and decided I would not write more than 2000 words a day. I also scheduled my writing time from 9:30 - 11pm every day. If I had more time say during the day during weekends, I still didn't write even though my novel was calling me.

The great thing about keeping myself reigned in is not only have I managed my time better, but I'm not so far ahead I'm tempted to skip a day or two. I know me, if I allowed myself to skip once, I will easily find other excuses to skip more, whether I was ahead or behind in my word count.

So far it's worked. Even during the few days when I absolutely couldn't continue, I continued anyway. Ironically, during those tough days, I ended up writing more than I originally intended. I've heard said that it takes about twenty minutes for a writer to really get into a groove of writing. I found that number to be fairly accurate.

Once Nanowrimo ends on November 30, I plan to continue to write until the novel is done. It's close to a true habit now. I will then let it sit for a few months. I already know it needs a lot of work.

Another benefit to Nanowrimo is it forces me to ignore my internal editor. Oh, she screams at me constantly, but she's no more annoying than a fly buzzing around the room. It's too bad no one has invented an "internal editor fly swatter."

On December 1st, I will again listen to my editor and rewrite my first Nano-novel I mentioned above.

If you haven't tried Nanowrimo, yet desire to write a full-length novel (or even a series of short stories), I suggest you give it a try. You aren't competing with anyone (unless you want to), but with a calendar. There really isn't such a thing as failure or success, because by giving it a try and writing maybe 2000 words that month, it's 2000 more words than you would have had.

If you want to know more about my own books and writing journey, be sure to check out my website at

Thank you for reading, and to Loraine for letting me steal her blog for a day.

I hope you all had a grand Thanksgiving and that you didn't eat yourself into too deep a stupor

Thank you, Andra! Interesting method, and so glad it works well for you. Smile


Kara Hartz said...

It's so interesting to see how others have tackled NaNo and changed tactics over the years. There's no one right way I guess, and it sounds like you're enjoying the journey. Looking forward to those completed novels on the bookshop shelf one day soon!

Andra M. said...

Hi Kara!

I've noticed you're doing quite well yourself. Not bad for a short-story teller :)

Enjoying the journey I think is the best part. A bit frustrating at times (I'd be worried if it wasn't), but well worth the effort.

Thank you!

LK Hunsaker said...

I'm enjoying all of the different methods, also. And the journey...yes, it's about the journey. ;-)

Mass.Maverick said...

I was part of Team Anomaly with Andra. We cheered each other on and reported on our progress to each other on a discussion thread at the Anomaly. It was a very rewarding experience just for the sense of community we built.

At first I didn't think I could do it, didn't really start until the 3rd, and blew past 50k the night before Thanksgiving at 2:00AM.

I found the NaNoWriMo experience a big help in that it forced me to establish a rhythm and write every day. That is something I've not done before as my many unfinished novelizations attest. I believe with Andra that NNWM has helped me to develop a more disciplined approach to writing.

I highly recommend it to anyone who has trouble finishing books and stories. Get into a team, online or local so you'll have accountability partners and have at it. They say if you do something for a month it becomes a habit. I've found it so.

(aka Dave Withe, Newbury, MA)

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Dave, I agree, team competition is very helpful! I often check progress of my writing buddies at the official site and I check my progress against other Wrimos at It's great inspiration to push yourself, especially when you see a word count of 139,000 by the third week. Wow.

Thanks for coming by!

Andra M. said...

I'm also glad you stopped by, Dave,and sharing your experience. You show that even after a slow start with little to no confidence at first, it can still be done.

(And he has an excellent book started. I so want to read it when it's done).

Hi Loraine *waves*!