Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

The Night Circus: An Example of a NanoWrimo Triumph

The Night Circus

The Night Circus

On December 1, I heaved a sigh of relief. National Novel Writing Month was over, and I had written about 46,000 words. I still hadn’t reached the very end of my book (that ending is something I’ve been tinkering with, but it shall be complete within the next week, I vow). But given that NanoWrimo was over, I was now allowed to read an actual novel, something I hadn’t let myself do in November, in case the writer’s tone carried over into my work.

The book I chose was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, one of many sitting in piles on my bedroom floor, waiting to be read. I am one of those bookworms who enjoys browsing bookstores and acquiring more and more interesting books to read, even though I have piles aplenty at home. From what I had gathered from reading reviews, The Night Circus sounded like it had an interesting spin on the premise of a magicians’ contest.

And indeed this is the case. Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is an engaging account of a circus which is actually a showcase for two magicians’ talents. Morgenstern’s prose is so lyrical that you can see every tent containing wonders in this circus, like an ice garden or a wishing tree covered in lit candles.

But as I read this book, I also kept in mind that it had begun as a NanoWrimo project. Given the chaotic mess that I myself created in the month of November, I couldn’t help marveling at how beautifully written, how polished and precise The Night Circus is. But there are hints in Morgenstern’s Acknowledgements of her NanoWrimo experience. First she thanks her agent, “who saw potential in something that was once truly a god-awful mess…” Morgenstern also writes, “I am grateful to all who gave their time and insight to revision after revision…”

Whew. Thank you, Erin Morgenstern. I know I have revision after revision to go through before my mess becomes the polished novel I know it can be – but with your beautiful book, you’ve given me some hope that it can be done.

If anyone has any lingering thoughts on NanoWrimo, or the creative process, I’d love to hear them!



Filed under Books, creative process

NanoWrimo Has Taken Over My Life

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month

Yes, I know – I was supposed to give you a run-down on my recommended horror titles from all the movies I watched in October. Well, that’s going to have to wait. You see, I am deep, deep into the Nanowrimo challenge, and I can think of little else in my free time.

What is Nanowrimo, you may ask? Well, every November crazed writers take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words during this 30-day month. Which also contains a major holiday. Which will entail some travel (for me personally).

Some years back I attempted this challenge but gave up quite early. I didn’t have the sense of community that I do now. For instance, I went to my local Nanowrimo kick-off meeting and received a key hand-out containing the number of words I should strive to get down on paper every day of November in order to meet that 50,000-word goal. This way, I know how behind I am – like, always. There’s also a Nanowrimo website where I can input the number of words I’ve written so far, and it is creating a handy graph of my productivity for November. And if I feel the need, there are write-in’s, gatherings of writers who are all working toward that same wondrous word-count goal.



I’ve never been a very prolific writer. I have managed to write hundreds of pages on a project I’ve been working on, but it’s been a sloooow process. I’ve never pushed myself this hard before – usually, if I manage to write two pages in a day, I clap myself on the back and stop. But now I know that I can produce page after page after page. No, not all of these words I’m setting on paper are golden, but I may just finally have that first draft of my book I’ve been working on so long. Or at the very least, most of it. And that, my friends, will be sweet, sweet victory, no matter how many words I ultimately produce.

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Filed under creative process