I Got Nothing For You

by Fae Rowen

Why do I have nothing this month?

I've never participated in NaNoWriMo. And I probably never will.

Please don't let me buzzkill you at the exciting, beginning of your furious writing month. But cranking out word count that requires hours and hours of revision is not my idea of a good time.

Let me explain why, in case you are wondering if there is something wrong with you because you don't participate in what some now think of as a serious writer's right of passage.

I'm  a mathematician by trade. That means I've been trained to search for solutions to problems. Correct solutions to problems, although incorrect solutions provide answers, too. Meticulous attention to a solution process lessens the chance for errors. Careful review of the steps taken to solve a problem not only offers ways to analyze and plan future work—so days and months aren't spent going down a dead-end path—but revising "the work" can lead to a more elegant solution. And who doesn't like elegant work?

For me, the parallel in my writing process makes me cringe at the thought of writing a whole book without re-reading and revising along the way. What if I veer off-course and cannot correct a damaged plot or correct the course of a character arc? How many words will have to be cut in the fixing?

I've had days when I write over 5,000 words, and days when I write 250. I already end up cutting as many words as I keep in my novels, which run about 100 K. I write YA and adult science fiction. I'm a careful writer. I re-read what I wrote the day before, revise it, then continue with new words. Every three or so chapters I re-read the bigger "chunk" to check pacing, direction of the plot and character arcs, and continuity.

Everyone's writing process is different. If yours isn't suited to NaNoWriMo, don't despair. Keep on writing every day. Maybe push yourself more than usual this month to see what you can accomplish. This is a special month for writers, so take advantage of that. Push yourself to write more or different or better. Share what you're doing with other writers, even your NaNoWriMo friends. Rejoice in your—and their—successes. Remember the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to write a book. Just keep working actively toward that goal. You'll get there. In your own way and in your own time.

I guess I don't have nothing this month, after all. I have the shared drive and intention of a worldwide community of writers to write every day and work on the best book I can give to my readers.

So get out there and write—with or without rules. Because if you're not in the chair, the book won't get finished. Books don't write themselves.


Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes  that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.
Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong.  She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.
A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told.  Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard.
P.R.I.S.M.Fae's debut book available now, is a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love.


  1. Fae, it's fun reading your blog post next to mine: I DO do NaNo, but I follow my usual writing methods during NaNo in order to avoid ending up with a pile of crappy words at the end of the month. (Like you, I do a light edit to start each day before writing new words. Even during NaNo.) Whatever works!

  2. I'm with you on revising along the way.


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