NaNoWriMo 2018: In Review

NaNoWriMo is my annual holiday. Every year, I put forth an effort to actually succeed at finishing around 50,000 words in one month. Unfortunately, I failed to reach that goal this year.

I did not fail NaNoWriMo, though.

The good news is that I’m not alone. A lot of people across the world failed to meet their 50,000 word quota for the month. A lot of things come up to distract us from this effort, all easily placed under the header of “Life.” In my situation, I spread myself too thin. I chose to write on three projects at the same time, two of which were collaborations, and because of this my cadence broke and I became lazy.

That’s alright as well, though.

NaNoWriMo is meant to remind you about your writing commitments. It’s meant to help you self-analyze your writing habits and learn more about yourself in the process.

When I first started doing NaNoWriMo, I failed two years in a row to hit that magical 50k, but those first two years were a huge success. They were a success because, before that, I had only ever written around 15,000 words to any one story. In my first NaNo, I wrote around 25k, surpassing my old standard and showing myself that it could be done and that such an insurmountable seeming task wasn’t difficult if I just approached it one piece at a time.

In my second year I was able to feel the success that came with having a completed novel. It was indescribable. A piece of art that was in my hand, crafted and molded to the best of my abilities and able to project images directly into someone else’s mind. Stephen King said it himself in “On Writing” when he compared writing a book to the closest thing we’ll ever achieve to telepathy. I was feeling that power from the moment that I typed “The End.”

Success during NaNoWriMo has little to do with hitting that magical number. That number is just there as a goal for the masses to aim for, but at the end of the day we’re only held accountable to ourselves.

While I was distracted by multiple projects and phony excuses to myself, that wasn’t any different than my October had been. The difference was that I wrote 12,000 words in two different titles that I’m working on. I also finished an anthology piece. It was a productive month that only served to highlight a weakness of mine that I had forgotten I had. In an effort to produce as many titles as I could this year, I overbooked, underperformed, and failed to provide. It sounds like failure but it’s the furthest thing from it.

NaNoWriMo moved me forward on projects that I had and showed me what I have to do to finish titles in the future.

I hope you all had a successful NaNoWriMo, no matter what your word count was.

Busy Times

Much to my personal heartache, my NaNoWriMo is way behind with no sign of catching up in time to be considered a winner.

On the one hand, this bothers me because I wanted to have two novels at least at the editor stage before the end of December. At this rate, I’m hoping to have at least one finished by my birthday (1/14, write it down. I like gift cards…). Unfortunately for my brother and co-author, it looks like Broken Nights 2 (yeah, it’s still unnamed…) is the story that won’t be done by my birthday. Fortunately, for me, I think Satan’s Salesman will at least be at the editor by sometime in December.

The reason that NaNoWriMo has been derailed? I’m busy as hell.

This month, my company Davenport Writes will have helped publish or put into print a handful of books. First is The Father of Chicago, by Lois Beh, that follows the historical retelling of Du Sable during the founding of Chicago. Then there’s Stephen Miller’s book (the name escapes me right now, as we just got the book back from the editor and he’s reviewing it now), that covers financial strategy. Then there’s Dhampir Three, by Melissa Ann Gaumes, that just got it’s cover back from my pal Putnam. As for books, the last one that I’m working on this week is Larry Clayton’s Unforgettable, that is a mix of photo album and memoirs. Formatting is a little more difficult for his, as originally it was in a Apple Pages format that I needed to convert, and then I need (I’m only two thirds of the way through) to us photoshop to add captions to each picture and crop them for placement. All of this “busy” doesn’t include Jack Fetty’s new Red River Justice book that I just finished formatting and uploading to Createspace.

It also doesn’t include the three websites that I was building this month, the annual anthology (that I think is going to become a biennial anthology, as I don’t have the time nor the funds necessary to put it together. It also is currently too short and needs more submissions. If you’re interested, please email, or my day job which takes priority. It also doesn’t include the Arcade Cabinet that I’m building a guy starting this weekend.

All of this, as well as my incredibly low pricing, my failure to impress upon my clients that they need to pay me, and my enjoyment of at least some modicum of free time, led me to adjust the website offerings and product structure. Now, every job I take on will be either through the website or not at all. It will help me to better prioritize my projects, it will funnel out the people who are happy to use me and my inability to be a debt collector, and it will give me more personal time to work on my own writings.

Simply put, I’m overworked, underpaid, and want a life, but I love doing what I do and providing authors with the tools they need. I just need to put limits on how much of my own time that takes up.

All of that leads me to my point, I’ve failed my NaNoWriMo pretty damn hard and the month isn’t over yet.

I’m not complaining, at all. Consider this the explanation for why my price structure and offerings has shifted, albeit slightly.

Anyway, that’s the update. Go have a beer.

Satan’s Salesman Artwork

My pal and one of my favorite artists, Putnam Finch, has just sent me the first piece of art for my next novel “Satan’s Salesman.” I’m only about a quarter of the way through writing the book (in other words, I’m way behind on NaNoWriMo), but the artwork is very inspiring.


Personally, I love it. It perfect explains what this book is about in one image and looks so damned good.

Seriously, I love it.

What do you think?