Ten Years Later

November 30, 2001: I completed Not The Greatest Story Ever Told, my shithouse NaNoWriMo “novel”:

November 30, 2011: I finished Not The Greatest Story Ever Told II!


There’s been a major word drought since I wrote that book. I’ve oscillated between “what kind of dickhead writes about themselves like that?” over-exposed deer-in-headlights-let’s-hide-from-the-world-forever terror, and the “you’re no writer, you just got lucky coz there weren’t many Fat Girl Loses Lard memoirs at the time and now you got NOTHING!” feelings of utter fraudulence.

As a result everything I’ve written over the past four years has been torn up in a huff. That is, when I managed to write anything at all. I’ve pretty much been too shitscared to even try.

In late October there were the usual NaNoWriMo mutterings on Twitter and I realised it was ten years since I last completed the 50,000 words in 30 days madness. I thought I’d give it another go. I confessed my plans to my pal Naomi, who I got to know this year through Up & Running. She is a proper author of multiple novels! She was awesomely encouraging and said, “Just make sure you don’t make this another stick to beat yourself up with”.

She used a great running analogy: I’d been doing the writing equivalent of sitting on the couch – feck all activity for years. Going straight into a novel would be like going straight from the couch to marathon training. I understood perfectly – knowing me, I’d push too hard too soon and bust my writerly joints, declare it all too much, then wind up back on the couch doing nowt!

She had a cool idea that was more like training for a 5K – she kindly sent me a copy of A Writer’s Book Of Days, a book of daily writing prompts. So instead of a terrible novel, I wrote terrible short stories in November.

I guess that means it doesn’t really count as a NaNoWriMo effort, but to me it felt like a bloody huge triumph. The writing was so bad I’d snort at the screen with laughter, but I remembered what we always say to our 5K Course runners: don’t worry about the quality of the workout – the goal is simply to get the fucker done.

Since November I’ve kept up the daily prompts. I have no goal in mind other than to just keep writing and keep building the muscle. Who knows what happens after that but it’s a good start. I’m also approximately 137% less grumpy now that I’m writing again.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

21 thoughts on “Ten Years Later

  1. Whatever you’re writing, it’ll be worth the wait. No pressure, but hurry the f*ck up.

    For what it’s worth, you continue to inspire me to write/exercise/order eggs benedict ALL THE TIME so thank you for keeping on doing what you’re doing. Sincerely. xxx

  2. LOVE THIS. Go Shauna Go! And your stories are nothing close to shite, you know that. So happy to hear you’re back writing. Good on ya, love!

  3. You did much better than me. I started then got freaked out cos I had my japanese proficiency test at the start of Dec and had the English and Japanese competing within me!

  4. Dude! 50,000 words of ANY quality impresses the hell out of me. Go, you!

    And – uh, when did you move this blog to WordPress? I’m so unobservant.

  5. Well done – I’d love to do NaNoWriMo again, though it took real dedication last time I tried and I only got to 48,000 (I went on holiday near the end of the month and I’d lost the impetus when I got back!)

  6. This was my 8th time in a row doing NaNo and my 4th “win”! Glad to hear you jumped back into the mayhem. πŸ˜‰

  7. This is all good! The only time I did NaNoWriMo it was a total bust, and I’m not going to try with a small baby, but the short-story idea is a good one.

    And I am also sure your stories weren’t rubbish. I have never caught you writing rubbish!

  8. Late to this, but I’m so glad you’re writing again β€” don’t think me too wanky for saying so, but it’s clearly your calling (and you’re just as good as anyone else, and your success was no way a fluke). Keep it up πŸ™‚

  9. Shauna, you’re a born writer. You have a real gift with words. Plots are different – don’t know if you can do plots (though maybe you can – not saying you can’t) but if not, write non-fiction. But write! And have confidence in yourself.

  10. hey this site still exists! I don’t think I’ve been here in at least 5 years.. Good to see you completed Nano again, I’ve managed to ‘win’ twice, last year and the year before. I think I’ll skip it this year though πŸ˜›
    Do you remember the time we chatted on icq and our conversation was interrupted by you noticing you could see your neighbours across the street through their window having sex? What am I saying, I think you blogged about it..

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