NaNoWriMo Log #3: I Won, Sort Of

Nia Simone McLeod
Nov 23, 2020 · 3 min read
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

This is a weekly log as I attempt to take on NaNoWriMo during November 2020. NaNoWriMo is a yearly writing challenge that dares writers to write 50,000 words (a novel) in a month. In these logs, I’ll discuss the ups and downs of my writing process: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 |Week 4 |

It’s time to pop champagne like Jim Jones and Ron Browz. I won NaNoWriMo! *victory screech*

I reached 50,393 words on November 19th. That day, I officially won NaNoWriMo 2020 and bragged on every social media platform — ever. Although I technically won NaNoWriMo, I’m far from the end of the story.

I’ve won the battle but haven’t won the war. But, oh, what an eventful battle it’s been — especially during Week 3.

Drama on Drama on Drama

I was working through the Bad Guys Close In (downward spiral) and All is Lost (climax) Save the Cat beats during Week 3. I felt like that meme of Elmo in front of a raging fire.

Gif from Giphy

I was destroying everything in my character’s path and it was so much fun.

With the amount of emotion raging through the story, even I was getting hyped up. I was mouthing the dialogue and speaking through my hands like a battle rapper while I wrote.

I took a lot of creative risks during Week 3. If I had an odd idea, I didn’t think about it too hard. I just went for it.

I’ve learned through NaNoWriMo that if I go down the wrong path narratively I feel it immediately. I know something’s not right. When I have that feeling, I turn around right away and start the scene over.

I used to get down on myself for “failing” or having a “bad” idea — but I don’t have time for that y’all. I’ve got a story to write. I just choose a different path, roll my eyes at that pesky plot bunny, and keep writing.

I had a hard time developing characters last week. But, this week I reached some epiphanies that helped me see a few characters in a different light. With this newfound information, I’ll be better equipped to flesh them out in later drafts.

When Will It End?

As I begin Week 4, I’m ending Act 2 and beginning Act 3 of my novel. Looking back at my pacing during Week 1, I think I’ll be able to finish my novel before November’s over *crosses fingers*.

From NaNoWriMo’s forum community to tracking my word count on the website, there are a lot of things I love about taking part in NaNoWriMo. These factors motivate me to keep writing. If writing this discovery draft stretches into December, it may be hard to keep that momentum.

Nevertheless, I’m ready to get this out of the way so I can work on other creative projects in December.

I’m taking a vacation from work during Week 4 (the week of Thanksgiving). I might spend Week 4 having crazy word count days to ensure that I write the words “The End” before December 1st.

Although the deadline is looming over my head, I’m still enjoying the process of creation. It’s been a wild ride, but I’m confident I’ll finish strong *crosses fingers*.

Week 3 (11/15–11/21) Word Count

What I Needed: 35,007 words
What I Have: 54,638 words

How did Week 3 go? What has participating in NaNoWriMo taught you about your writing process? Let me know your thoughts below!


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Nia Simone McLeod is a writer, content creator, and pop culture enthusiast from Richmond, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram for more dope digital content.

oh, write

A Black woman’s writing journey.

oh, write

A publication documenting the highs and lows of a Black woman’s writing journey.

Nia Simone McLeod

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Freelance writer covering pop culture, creativity, race + other fun stuff | she/her | Subscribe to my newsletter:

oh, write

A publication documenting the highs and lows of a Black woman’s writing journey.