NaNoWriMo 2017: Meet The Writers

by Gurpreet Sihat

There’s a memoir writer taking part in her second NaNoWriMo over in Amsterdam! Read her interview below and see what advice she can give you in getting through this crazy writing month!


Author Name: Darya Danesh

Author Website:

Twitter Handle: @daryawrites

Q: How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo?

A: This will technically be my second year participating, but I’ve been thinking about it since I was about 16.

Q: How many times have you won NanoWriMo?

A: I have not yet won! I had a promising plan last year, but after battling a nasty flu during the first week I wasn’t able to catch up and by the mid-way point so I decided to give that project a less intensive timeline. Spoiler: I’m still working on it a year later.

Q: Are you a panster or a plotter?

A: I would like to think I’m a plotter. I really really love to be organised and have a set plan, however, I often find myself swaying from it like Tarzan getting through the jungle trying to out-swing and out-smart predators. Like with any piece, I find myself with one idea in my head when I begin to write a piece, to a complete other by the time I get to the end of it. So when it comes to a project as big as a 50k manuscript, I’m more likely to be a plonster?

Q: Have you ever quit NaNoWriMo halfway through before? If yes, why?

A: As I already mentioned, I had a horrible flu at the beginning of my first attempt at NaNoWriMo last year. I’m talking a 3-day fever, muscle aches, day-long naps, the whole 9 yards. After a full week in bed (ok maybe 2 days on the couch, too), I managed to write about 6k by the midway point. I’m very much a “do it well or don’t do it at all” kind of person, so the thought of making it to the end of November with a NaNoWriMo loss was not even an option. I conceded an honourable defeat and promised I’d try again. So here I am!

Q: What software do you use to write your NaNoWriMo novels?

A: I’m a Microsoft Word gal, through and through.

Q: Have you got any pre-writing rituals?

A: I generally just like to stay hydrated. Oh and caught up on all of my series. This year that means that I need to finish my (6th!) rewatch of Gilmore Girls by November 1st. As you’ll be reading this after the 1st, tweet me and find out if I managed!

Q: What’s your writing routine?

A: Nothing in particular. I just need to be warm, comfortable, caffeinated, and have complete silence.

Q: Do you stick to the recommended 1,666wpd or do you set your own goals?

A: I’m bad with word counts. I’m very much a mood writer. I’m an essayist (for now!) and I like to finish a story before leaving my writing space. For longer stories, that means usually hitting just above 1,666, and for shorter stories, it means making sure I’ve written 2 or 3.

Q: How do you catch up if you fall behind?

A: Last year I quit, but this year I have a better support group so my plan is to ask my writing buddies and supporters for a pat on the back for doing well and words of wisdom for getting through. Oh and joining in on Word Sprints! Whenever I’m feeling behind or unmotivated, I find someone to Sprint with and that does wonders!

Q: How do you beat writer’s block?

A: I think I have an advantage as an essayist because I’m always writing from personal experience. I’m also very much a mood writer, so I will write my stories when the inspiration hits rather than forcing myself to write something that isn’t working. So I guess always writing when inspired is my cure for writer’s block.

Q: How different is your NaNoWriMo draft compared to a regular first draft?

A: I’m still a newbie writer so I don’t have an answer for this yet. But I’m expecting my NaNoWriMo draft to have a lot of sentences that never end, or bullet-point notes for things I’d like to add in first round edits.

Q: Why should writers participate in NaNoWriMo?

A: Why not! It’s a great way to get out that first draft of the novel that’s begging to be written!

Q: What are your top three NaNoWriMo tips for newbies?

A: 1) Don’t edit! 2) Don’t give up! 3) But if you do either, don’t beat yourself up about it!

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