It’s Time to Prep for NaNoWriMo…

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015.… but I wont be joining in this year. I didn’t last year, either. Why?

  • Last year I was busy prepping a series of short stories for publication. These stories, part of the Tales from the Mountain book of short stories, were written way back in 2008 as part of my first NaNoWriMo experience. I enjoyed every second of that first challenge, and finished on time. I was ecstatic! The four stories I was prepping to publish are for sale now on That series, called the #CampSeries, consists of Rascal, A Trip to the Outhouse, Auntie’s Boyfriend, and Hidden Camp. Feel free to check them out! I am pretty proud of them.
  • This year I’m working on publishing things again. I’ll be publishing The Haunted Dinner Party this month, and prepping a few more stories for publishing after the new year. This prepping to publish process takes so much time, as do the marketing/self-promotional activities, there isn’t any time left over for writing an entire 50,000 words in 30 days.

However, I wanted to mention NaNoWriMo here on the blog, and share my experiences and tips from previous years.

I’ve successfully completed the NaNoWriMo challenge four times, and do plan to take the challenge again in coming years. I feel a great need to concentrate on getting my completed stories published right now. I have a bunch in last edit stage, and they’ll need covers and other graphics, front and back matter, and other finishing touches before being published.

Here’s some information on my successful finishes:

  1. Tales from the Mountain (Horror & Supernatural) 2008: A book of fictional short stories based on a mountain in Maine. Spooky tales not for the faint of heart. 50, 450 words. The word count grew and grew after the challenge, and the book got very lengthy. Last year I decided to split things up, and published the #CampSeries and a stand-alone story, with plenty of options for the remainder of the book.
  2. Tales from the Woods (Horror & Supernatural) 2012: Tales from the woods deals specifically with the horror that can happen within a heavily wooded area, where small communities exist but cannot really be counted as towns. Horrific and, sometimes, supernatural events take place in the woods. 50,068 words. Again, the word count on this manuscript kept growing and and still does, so I split up some of the stories last year. This year I published two of them as stand-alone stories, Bang! and Alone.
  3. Saving Us (Mainstream Fiction) 2013: What happens when government goes too far, infringing on more and more freedoms, making life impossible for citizens to live happily? 50,110 words. I haven’t had a chance to get back to this book because I’ve been working on writing more short stories. When done, this will be a collection of three or four stories, each being lengthier than short stories. Maybe novelette or novella length. I’m interested in seeing what happens with them!
  4. Willow Brook (Religious/Spiritual) 2014: Willow Brook is the first of a trilogy that is lovingly dubbed The Witch Town Series. The main character has an off-the-wall, magickal experience while on vacation with her best friend, that leads her thoughts back to the beautiful vacation community. 50, 076 words. This is an exciting one for me, and will be part of the Tales of Magick series. The first story is just about complete. Again, we are talking novelettes/novellas when finally done, if not full-blown novels.

These, with all the short stories, will be keeping me very busy in the coming year and beyond. I wont have time to start another book this year, because I want to work instead on getting more stories published. That is my main concern right now. I may join NaNoWriMo again next year, if I get enough accomplished this year and next. If not, I’m fine with waiting another year in order to get my works published.

All this isn’t to say I wont be writing new stories. I’m working on a couple right now, when I need a break from the publishing process. I suppose I’ll always be writing in some way.

Pre-NaNoWriMo: Each year, there is a list of stuff to do to prepare for a NaNoWriMo experience. These posts will help guide you through the process.

My NaNoWriMo Prep Week 2014: This was the year I couldn’t find a huge block of time to prepare for my NaNoWriMo experience, but I pulled it all off by plugging away here and there, as time allowed. I was actually worried I’d have a had time finding the time to write, but that was not the case. Thank goodness!

Getting Ahead, In Preparation for NaNoWriMo: I’m not an organized person by nature but, for some things, I know I have to prepare in advance if I want to get any work done. Getting ready for November first does take a little effort.

NaNoWriMo: Keepin’ It Real, Keepin’ It Healthy: With NaNoWriMo starting November 1st, it is a good idea to start thinking about how to get through that month as smoothly as possible. We want to come through the other end in relatively good health, physically and mentally. November, after all, is a darn stressful, darn busy, month. How will we each get through it?

NaNoWriMo Starts in a Month!: November is a hectic month, what with the visit up north to visit my daughter Skye, and work picking up at the inn. But I am planning to do the challenge again this year. I think the story I am going to work on is a part of what I am calling the Witch Town series, but I could change my mind before this month is over. It depends on what ideas I can come up with for the book.

What I did on My Pre-NaNoWriMo Day:  Well, last Wednesday I managed to make my plan of attack for NaNoWriMo. I am steadily working on the steps on this list in order to prepare myself for the November NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMo 2012: I have previously took the NaNoWriMo challenge and completed it, and I am planning to take the challenge again this year for a work of fiction. November 2012 is NaNoWriMo! Will you join in? Today is Pre-NanoPrep Day, and I am here at the library finding out what I am allowed to do in preparation for a month of writing in November. I want to be sure that I have all my ducks in a row before the 1st.

Almost Time for NaNoWriMo!: Tomorrow is the first! I am so excited. Except… I have to work. Even though this is the case, I feel I should be able to at least write the introduction, as well as at least 2 of the 4 speeches that will be part of the book.

Planning for NaNoWriMo: There is a lot more to planning for NaNoWriMo than outlining and character sketches. A survival kit wont even finish off my planning. Why? Because there is more to my life than just writing. I have family, friends, neighbors, work, errands and chores. There is a lot to do before I can begin a month of writing.

My NaNoWriMo Prep Day 2013: Because I have today off from work at the inn, and because I am extremely excited over this year’s NaNoWriMo event, I am having a NaNo Prep Day.

The Survival Kit: In my opinion, mega important! What will you put in yours?

2014 NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: NaNoWriMo begins on the first! I am excited and nervous at the same time. I am going to be working on a new story, that I am not entirely prepared to write. I am doing what I can to prepare for November, hoping I get enough things done around my home that I wont feel distracted. As for preparations for writing, I have few notes and my survival kit has been mostly put together.

My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: (2013) Last year I put together my first NaNoWriMo Survival Kit. This year I am expanding my kit to include other things I now know are important.

My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: (2012) I am currently putting together my NaNoWriMo survival kit, to be ready for November 1st. It will include..

NaNoWriMo Updates: During the month of November, I’d give updates about what was happening during the challenge. How I was progressing and whatnot.

NaNoWriMo Update: (11/27/2012) The home stretch. A relief? Not so much, yet. No for me. I am behind, mainly because I missed a couple of extra days of writing during my vacation from, and the fact that I did not write on Thanksgiving. I am okay with this, however. I needed the break. I needed a little time to simply relax.

NaNoWriMo Week 1: (11/7/2013) Admittedly, I do not make much headway with my writing during the first week of NaNoWriMo.  This is due to the fact that i travel up north to visit my daughter for her birthday. This year she turned 24, and I went to her birthday party, as well as to a dinner with her boyfriends’ parents. It was an enjoyable stay, as always, that cuts 4 days from my NaNoWriMo experience.

NaNoWriMo Update: (11/20/2013) Busily writing away. I wasn’t sure about the genre, but I think it is going to work out fine. I am not completely liking using an outline, though. In some ways it is easier. In other ways not so much. Maybe I will get more used to it. Who knows.

NaNoWriMo 2014 has Begun: Yesterday I worked, NOT starting my book. But I knew I had today off and would have plenty of time to work on the manuscript. Anyone else a day behind? I am sure there must be others. Background noise (necessary) for my day of writing includes Baby Boom, Little Women, and the Grumpy Old Men Movies. Why? Because of the snow themes.

NaNoWriMo Update 11/11/2014: Well, my plans for writing on November 2nf did not pan out. See NaNoWriMo has Begun. I had the best of intentions, believe me, but the weather was so bad we lost the power for most of the day, after only a few hundred words typed. I was so disappointed. I won 2013, and am really hoping to win 2014 as well! Other things got done: What cleaning I could do without hot water, and project I had wanted to start was begun. But that was all I got accomplished all day. Then I was back to work, typing as I had the chance. But it was so busy, I did not get a lot done.

I won NaNoWriMo! Four times, though I only have three recorded here on the blog. And oh, what a feeling!

NaNoWriMo Winner!: (2012) I won! I won, I won, I won! How about you? Have you crossed the finish line yet? You still have time (at least in my part of the world), and I wish you much luck.

NaNoWriMo Update – I Won!: (2013) Now that I have had a break from all the writing, and was able to enjoy my holiday, I would like to announce that I finished the NaNoWriMo challenge on November 26, 2013 with 50,110 words.

I Won NaNoWriMo…: (2014) … with 50,076 words on November 25, 2014. The month of November, even though I start out so excited about the NaNoWriMo Challenge, is quite stressful, what with work and holiday stuff. But it is well worth my time and effort, and always exciting when I get to the 50,000th (or more!) word. I wish all my fellow NaNoers the best of luck, and congratulations to those who have already one. And, if you don’t win, congratulations for trying so hard. You will be further ahead than before, and you can always try again next November.

It’s true. The prep and actual writing takes much time, and can be stressful. But it is all worth it in the end.

Are you joining the NaNoWriMo challenge this year? If so, I hope my previous posts have helped you to prepare and that they gave you a good idea of what will happen for you over the next couple of months. I hope they portrayed well enough the excitement over winning this challenge.

Good luck along your journey, and email me if you have any questions or just need some encouragement. ( You could also leave a comment here for the community.

Happy Writing!

Shannon L. Buck




About Shannon L. Buck

Hello. My name is Shannon, and I'm a single mother of two young adult daughters, and Memay to one precious Little Man. I work as a writer from my home in Orono, Maine, and as a Front Desk Agent at an inn. Writing is my life, second only to my daughters. I enjoy writing nonfiction, as well as fiction in a number of genres. At some point, I would like to travel. It would be a true writing adventure.