NaNo Confession Time 2014

I’m writing these words at one o’clock in the afternoon on November 30, the last day of NaNoWriMo, that crazy commitment to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

As I’ve done since 2009, I’ve pledged to reveal my NaNo progress here , in hopes that fear of public humiliation will drive me towards my goal.

At the moment, I don’t know for sure if humiliation or victory is in the cards for 2014. I’m nearly 4,000 words short, and my brain is not being especially cooperative (which may have something to do with the fact that the kids are off school for Thanksgiving break. As I remember ruefully this time every year, NaNo was not designed by working mothers.)

But I’m trying to soldier through, as are many thousands of other procrastinators around the world. I’m trying to remember my own advice to shut up the inner editor, turn off my internet access, and just let my fingers fly.

Will I make it? I’ll be back sometime before midnight to let you know.


[Pause of several hours. Clocks tick threateningly…. adrenaline surges…. small children perform loud and increasingly irrational interruptions…..]


AAAAAAAAAND……. here’s the final result:




***** I MADE IT!!! *****






Here’s my winner badge:






Here’s my final word-count graph:

winner screen 













Here’s the NaNo Office Staff cheering in plastic Viking helmets:

 nano staff cheering


 Admittedly, it didn’t look pretty for a few hours there. My ADHD was really acting up today, and I spent waaaaaaaay too much time checking Tumblr and watching random kitten videos. Getting over the finish line required my sister on the other coast to crack the whip in the chat room and promise me prizes if I hit certain word-count goals each sprint.

(FYI: Her prizes usually consist of links to delightful images of my favorite hot British actors. Like, for instance, the “NAKED” picture of Richard Armitage she promised me at one point. Which you can behold below. Yeah, if she weren’t on the other coast—and if she weren’t totally saving my bacon—I might have punched her.)

 nak ra









BUT…not-exactly-naked Richard Armitage aside, I finished up NaNo with 50,102 words, and no major arteries rupturing. And I didn’t even have to stay up until midnight.

Honestly, this was the sanest, least exhausting NaNo I’ve ever done. Despite a fall-off last week when teaching demands derailed my writing (grades and letters of recommendation all due the same week always makes for fun in the third week of November), I made pretty consistent progress most of the time.

As I said in my mid-point check-in post, that’s a new thing for me.

As opposed to last year, when I only wrote on 15 out of the 30 NaNo days, this year I wrote on 24 out of 30. Which is, you know, better.

Not exactly perfect, but a huge improvement. And because I worked on more days, that meant, day by day, I didn’t have to do as much. There wasn’t a single mega-word-count day for me this year. The highest total I hit was today, when I did 3712 words. Not that I have anything against mega-word-count days. Hey, if I could churn out 10,000 words on the daily, I’d be ecstatic. But the reality of my life is I can’t afford the hours it takes to write 5,000 or more words in a typical day.

Slow and steady is a better model for combining writing with the rest of my life. Maybe, just maybe, I can make this a habit.

 So….YAY!!! Another NaNo successfully down.


What about you? If you did NaNo, did you slay the beast?

35 responses to “NaNo Confession Time 2014”

  1. Kim Law says:

    Congrats, Elisa!!! Woohoo!!!!

  2. Kathy Crouch says:

    Yes ma’am, I finished on Thursday night. I kept saying only 400 more words. I ended up with 1140 for the day. I traveled 3.5 hours to Thanksgiving Dinner with my husband’s family and 3.5 hours back home to settle in and write. I have to confess that I didn’t finish the story only made the goal of 50k.

  3. Well done you!!! So pleased that you’re pleased.

    I didn’t join NaNo, but I did have daily goals and a project goal and got that done. So I’m happy too. 🙂

    Now finish that MS up! 🙂

  4. Julie Mulhern says:


    You Nano writers amaze me! Congratulations on 50,000+ words. I hope you get to keep every single one.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Thanks, Julie.

      Trust me, some of those babies need to be pruned away quickly and quietly. But I think I’ll get to keep most of them, perhaps in slightly altered form.

  5. jbrayweber says:

    Congrats, Elisa!!! Whooo Hooo!
    I wish I could claim winner, too. But alas, I have fallen, oh, about, 45,000 words short. Ha! It just wasn’t in the cards, this year. But next…


  6. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Yay, Elisa! Congratulations.

    I’ve never done NaNoWriMo (’cause, hey, November!) But I’m always happy when someone else wins.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth!

      And while I’m on the subject, we’ll be announcing the start of the Winter Writing Festival soon….which, for those who don’t already know, is a much more flexible but somewhat longer (50-day) commitment to work intensively on our writing, but AFTER all the holidays are over (Starts around Jan 10 for 2015, I believe).

      Watch this page!

      • Tamara Hogan says:

        Congrats Elisa, and to everyone who NaNo’ed! Whether you ‘won’ or not, you have words written now that you didn’t have before. 😉

        I can’t wait for January! If memory serves, and apologies if it doesn’t, I believe it was Ruby sister Jamie M. who came up with the Rubies’ Winter Writing Festival’s killer tagline:

        “Finally! A writing festival that doesn’t span a major holiday. (You know women are running it.)”

        • Elisa Beatty says:

          *Grin*…yes, I think it was Jamie.

          Looking forward to that as well!!!! I always gets tons of work done during the Winter Writing Festival, and it’s as good for revising / editing as it is for laying down a rough draft.

  7. June Love says:

    Yay, Elisa! Congratulations to you and all those who participated in NaNo. It’s a huge commitment, so whether you make your goal or not, the fact you committed is awesome. 🙂

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Thanks, June.

      Making a public commitment really helps. I thank you all for providing a Looming Spectre of Public Shame….even though I know really you’d all be just as sweet and supportive if I didn’t win as you are when it goes well.

      Writing my word count on my whiteboard in my classroom helped, too! Couldn’t let my students down!

  8. Woohoo!! So excited for you! CONGRATULATIONS!

    I was trying to do a half-NaNo (which, I suppose, is kind of like a half-marathon), but another project got in the way and my brain kind of fizzled out.

    But I feel very much recharged after a week off with family. Though I only ended up with about 6k words for the novella, I’m ready to charge forwarding December. And then it’ll be Winter Writing Festival time!! Yeehaw!

  9. Congratulations!

    I did not NaNo, as you probably knew. I did, however, host for Thanksgiving and had guests all weekend, and I, too, survived!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      LOL, Jamie….I was a bit sheepish seeing the “Say NO to NaNo” headline…but I know you meant we don’t HAVE to do crazy things like that just because the business puts so much pressure on us. For me, it works, so I do it.

      And congrats on surviving the holiday with guests and a busy little guy.

  10. Congrats Elisa,
    It’s a great feeling to win NaNo. I finished short with 34,500 but sometimes writing slower is okay. Now I have less to finish so all is good. I love the push of all those furious fingers typing together.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Writing slower is DEFINITELY okay!!!!! (See Jamie’s recent post.)

      And over 34,000 words in a single month….that ain’t slow by any rational standard. Congrats to you!!!

  11. Kate Parker says:

    Congrats, Elisa. You did it!

  12. CONGRATS, ELISA!!!!!

    So, yeah, I actually had way over the 50k goal, but since I was writing madly to finish a book, I forgot to update my word count yesterday!!! I’ve never won and not reported it! In fact, I’ve only won once in all the years I’ve been doing it. How did I forget??? Sigh…

    Oh well, back to my WIP. SO HAPPY FOR ALL THOSE WHO WON!!!

  13. Elisa Beatty says:

    LOL, Darynda….all guts, no glory in this case….but the finished book (especially one of YOUR finished books) is by far the better trophy!!!

    You’re amazing!!!

  14. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Congratulations, Elisa! Eileen deserves a prize, too!

  15. Liz Talley says:

    Well, I did 32K. I really thought I would do it but life intervened. I’m holing up in a hotel with my husband We’d-Sunday and while he’s learning about dental implants, I’ll be trying to do those last 18k.


    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Anything over 30,000 is hella impressive! But go grab those 18K if you can….and enjoy the room service! (No matter what, you’ve got to be having more fun than the folks in the dental implants lectures.)

  16. Vivi Andrews says:

    I did 50K too, but this book WILL NOT END. I shall be writing it for all eternity. *groans pitifully*

    Elisa – HUGE CONGRATS on your WIN!!!!!


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