How I Failed NaNoWriMo …Again

nanowrimo failure update

How I Failed NaNoWriMo …Again

The following article is part confessional, part advice and part weird-motivational rant about fiction writing.

Somebody asked me a while back about my NaNoWriMo project, which I failed to update. Not wanting to be one of those guys who says he’ll do something then quietly never mentions it again, I thought I’d update you all on the situation.

(Bear in mind I’m posting this on a Friday evening when hopefully everyone’s out doing other stuff.)

Alright, let’s start with the excuses.

Personal Issues Killed My Progress

Nobody is here for the “Dear Diary” stuff, but I was taken away from work of most kinds during the second half of November through December.

I was pleasantly surprised at how little this affected most of my business interests, to the point where I’m currently reassessing what it is I do all day and scaling down my time absently browsing the internet.

What it did mean though is that my NaNoWriMo project was dead in the water. In the second and final update to this point, I had written about 25,000 words. The grand total for fiction projects in November was around 30,000 if I’m being generous. I quickly wrote a short story (unpublished) on a free afternoon, but that was it.

So, with that unflattering admission out of the way, let me talk about some other fiction stuff that I learned during NaNoWriMo.

There Are MASSIVE Opportunities In Fiction Writing (Perhaps More Than Ever Before)

My major nerd hobby is that I like to take things and break them down into little workable systems.

I haven’t done that with writing fiction, though I believe I’m close, and at some point it will happen.

What I have noticed is that there are a lot of areas that fiction writers aren’t exploiting. I don’t mean to sound like a “This shocking secret!” internet guru here, so I’ll give you a few examples:

  • Few writers offer subscription plans (I’ve found one who does this with any professional regularity)
  • Few fiction writers offer private fiction consumption plans (They are out there, but few and far between)
  • Many fiction writers still don’t write in series – especially not non-linear series. (Think Batman or Lovecraft)
  • There are tons of different media available for fiction writers. See this post on thinking outside the box for three examples.

Again, I’m claiming no expertise or guru-ness here; these are all money making avenues that have been successful for non-fiction writers and other creatives already. You just have to port fiction writing into the established business models you find elsewhere.

I Haven’t Figured The System Out

Be under no illusions; the majority of this blog, despite being helpful to others on the surface, is a way for me to acknowledge, codify and systematised the various schemes I dream up at any given time.

I’d like to think I’ve worked out systems for most things I’ve written about. Website stuff, copywriting, etc. Those are all things that I’ve been able to systematise.

Fiction is a bit different because it appeals to the creative and immersion is the key quality as opposed to a definable metric.

That said, there is a system there to be had. There are formulas for creative writing and once you have the skill, I’ve no doubt that you can write fiction just as quickly and reliably as you can non-fiction.

At the moment though, you’ll have to look to pulp-fiction masters rather than me.

Luckily, I’ve written about said masters of quick-fiction writing.

Check out these reviews:

Plot to Print to Pixel

And the way I think you should approach fiction writing.

Pulp Fiction Economics
One Draft Writing
How To Become A Professional Artist

The keys to the puzzle are in there, and it’s just a case of putting the pieces in the right order.

Final Thoughts

This wasn’t a particularly pleasant article to write, but then Rocky was all about toughing it out through the failures, and that won an Oscar.

Let’s wrap it up:

  • Personal stuff sometimes gets in the way of projects
  • When it does, you must prioritise
  • But you’ll also work out other things – like you spend too much time doing nothing usually
  • Fiction writing is something that you can only achieve by sitting in front of the computer
  • There are plenty of untapped opportunities in fiction
  • Bear that in mind when people tell you that writing fiction is a dream, over-saturated and you can’t make money from it

Speaking of which, I’ve bought a couple of books about writing genre fiction. I’ll be writing reviews for those later on in the month, which should be helpful to anyone interested in this. (At the moment, fiction writers account for a pretty small amount of my overall traffic here, so sorry for the intermittent topics for you.)

Anyway, Jamie’s fail update is complete. Still, it’s a New Year and one of the goals is to have no more fail updates for the year.  

P.S. I will work out a system for producing a lot of high quality, good-selling fiction at some point.

It’s highly likely that I’ll share my findings with my email list (and Secret Island members – wink nudge) first.

You know what to do.

About the author

Jamie McSloy

My name is Jamie McSloy. I'm a writer from the UK. This site is about the business of being a writer. Copywriting, Content Marketing, Publishing and all forms of writing will be discussed here. Learn More About Me

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