Writing update #11 | NaNoWriMo is already a third of the way done???

Time just keeps on passing and before you know it, you’re already a third of the way into a month long writing challenge and already falling behind.

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Hello everyone, and welcome to my yearly existential crisis!

This November, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, which means I’m attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days. 2019 is my sixth year participating; I’ve done NaNoWriMo almost every year since 2013 and won four out of five times. You’d think I’d be a pro at this by now!

Yet every year, I end up at this place – usually around this time in the month – when I become convinced that I’m not going to finish.

This is going to be a fairly short update because I’ve been writing so many words in the past few days that I don’t want to spend tons of time writing even more…


My NaNo Project

As I talked about in my last writing update, I’m writing a retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen set in present day Pacific Northwest. The nice thing about writing a retelling is that the plot is already laid out for me and I don’t have to worry about outlining as much.


Still there are a number of downsides to writing a Jane Austen retelling, namely:

1. I didn’t do as much planning as I should have pre-NaNo, which means I’m figuring out how things are going to be altered as I go.

2. I always write with my annotated copy of Persuasion next to me. While this is a great way to get unstuck when I’m unsure how a scene should go, it’s kinda discouraging to constantly compare my first draft to the finished product by one of the greatest writers in the English language.

3. Jane Austen excels at dialogue and witty banter and satire, which are not exactly my strongest areas.

I’m also experiencing a bit of genre shock. Even though I read lots of contemporary, I almost always write fantasy, so working on a project that involves no magic whatsoever feels strange. I’m 15k words in and nobody has died?? Nobody’s life is in mortal danger??? People are just talking to each other and falling in love???? Bizarre.

Still, I’m having fun writing a slow burn romance. I thought it was agonizing to read slow-burn, but turns out it’s even worse writing it.

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My progress so far

My writing has been…up and down.

I haven’t written yet today (Nov. 11) so my word count at the moment is at 15,800 words – a little behind yesterday’s goal of 16,600.

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.06.55 AM

(Sidenote: I really don’t like the new NaNoWriMo website design.)

I’ve been alternating between writing a ton and writing next to nothing, which means my daily word counter graph is all over the place. For some reason, I can’t seem to get into a steady rhythm of writing.

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.11.18 AM

But it’s fine. I’m a little behind right now, but not so much that I can’t catch up if I put the time and work in. Which I will! I’m enjoying this story quite a lot and excited about some of the upcoming scenes I have to write.

I’ve attended a few local write-ins, which is exciting because it’s the first year that I’ve done that. I should probably go to more, since I always seem to write a lot at them.

Okay, I should probably get back to writing now. Got some catching up to do!

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But first…

Allow me to introduce you to a few of my characters using John Mulaney quotes, as per tradition.

Anne Elliot AND Freddie Wentworth (they’re great at emotions):

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Anne Elliot:

Image result for i don't look older i just look worse

Freddie Wentworth:

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Walter Elliot:

Image result for i was just shiny and dumb and easy to trick

Caroline Russell:

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Marie Musgrove:

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Hanna and Lou Musgrove: 

Image result for i lived like a goddamn ninja turtle

Jamie Benwick:

Image result for you could pour soup in my lap

and finally, me @ me:


Writing music

Since this book is a sappy love story, I’ve been enjoying adding lots of sappy love songs to my writing playlist, including…

  • When We Were Young by Adele
    • And a part of me keeps holding on / Just in case it hasn’t gone / I guess I still care / Do you still care?
  • Young Love by Coby Grant
    • You would ride your old bike to my house / And we’d walk down to the seashore and talk until the nightfall
  • The One That Got Away by Brielle Von Hugel
    • And in another life / I would make you stay / So I don’t have to say you were the one that got away


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How is your progress so far? Tell me about your project!

x Margaret 

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16 thoughts on “Writing update #11 | NaNoWriMo is already a third of the way done???

  1. “I’m 15k words in and nobody has died?? Nobody’s life is in mortal danger??? People are just talking to each other and falling in love???? Bizarre.” Hahahahaha! I’m thinking Louisa Musgrove had better be concerned and extra careful. 😆

    And just so you know, I LOVE the quote you used for Caroline Russell. It makes me laugh out loud.

    And congratulations on hitting and exceeding 15,000! That is awesome! Keep going! You can do it, girl! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your genre shock so much BECAUSE SAME. I wrote a romantic bookstore story for NaNo last year, and I was so confused the entire time. Like, no one has tried to stab anyone? Everyone’s still happy? Whattttt??? It’s the weirdest feeling in the world, but also oddly satisfying to turn to after lots of murder and dragons.

    I’m also feeling that vibe of not sure I’m gonna finish, but gonna give it a whirl and hope for the best! Good luck, and I hope you get some words in today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Switching genres is HARD!! I’m so used to writing fight scenes and now I have to transition into scenes with long conversations! (Though a bookstore romance sounds WONDERFUL.)

      Ahh thank you so much!! Best of luck to both of us with getting those words in! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, YES! Figuring out how to sweetly transition instead of just smash and break a bunch of things is so tricky, but also uniquely satisfying.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really loved hearing about your update and the John Mulaney quotes are amazing!! I love reading them!!
    Congrats on 15,000!! That is impressive. I’m on 15,000 and I started in September!!
    I understand the genre shock as I’m writing contemporary but it is so strange as the plot structure has to be different and I’m worried it is slow and anything after planning worlds and magic before 😂
    I’m glad the local write ins have been going well, they sound like such a cool idea!!
    Best of luck for the rest of the month, you can totally do this!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! 😄

      15k after two months is STILL a great accomplishment. I’m rooting for you!!

      And yeah haha the pacing in contemporary has to be completely different and it’s so strange switching. Thanks for the encouragement – good luck with your writing too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Margaret!
    I am very late replying to this post haha- we are 2/3 done now!! I’ve been watching your word counts on the Nano website- good job so far! Keep it up!
    That’s pretty awesome that you’re writing a retelling. I haven’t tried this before but I can imagine how it can be easier in a way but also difficult. Just keep in mind that the finished version of Persuasion was probably after many rounds of edits were done, and you are only writing your first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around 🙂
    My word counts have been erratic too haha. I also agree that I’m not a big fan of the Nano website! I missed being able to see all my buddies’ word counts on one page haha :’)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sophie! 🙌 Getting closer and closer to the end! Yep, I’m definitely surprised by the challenges that writing a retelling has presented. And ahhh thank you for that reminder ☺️ Always good to keep that in mind! I definitely miss being able to see my buddies’ wordcount on the NaNo website…why’d they have to take that away??

      Liked by 1 person

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