Nanowrimo Spotlight: Dane O’Leary

Hey everybody. Excited about Nanowrimo yet? 😉 Tonight’s interview should help. Dane blogs at Exercises in Tenacity, (soon to be moving to and can be found on the Nano site as dangeroleary. Here’s Dane talking about his Nanowrimo experience:

I participated for the first time in 2011. I also participated in 2012, but didn’t finish. I was too busy to participate last year, but I do plan to write again this year.

I’ve been working on my first, and primary, novel for the past five years, and it became my 2011 NaNo novel. I have excerpts from that piece posted around the web, and it has been met with such positive responses and acclaim. It has been so flattering and encouraging for total strangers to track me down and contact me to ask me to please finish my book because they love what they have read.

I met the goal of 50k words but did not finish my book. I then hit a wall in the writing process and couldn’t seem to finish, so I tried to write it from the beginning again. And I didn’t get very far. This happened a couple more times, starting over and not being able to finish.

Some of my fondest NaNo memories mostly involve spending hours in coffee shops writing, feeling super excited and proud of certain scenes, and the feeling of accomplishment when I hit the 50k goal.

What are you writing about this year?
So this year I’m going back to my original manuscript, the one on which I made so much progress, and I’m going to continue it. Instead of starting my word count at 50k+, I’ll count the words I add to my manuscript with the goal of adding 50k words by the end of November.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, or The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I also really enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. (Note from Chris: I guess Dane just can’t follow simple instructions! 😉 )

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
The best advice that I’ve been given and that I use often is to enjoy writing, to enjoy my craft. Writers tend to write because it’s a compulsion and something that brings them — and hopefully others — joy, but sometimes it can seem like work. Especially when you’ve made it your career, writing can sometimes lose the romance that made that life appealing to you in the first place, and that’s especially true for those with piles of rejection letters and countless unfinished manuscripts that fizzled out over time. Try to remember you’re telling a story only you can tell, with characters only you know. Be confident, but humble. We write to communicate a thought or an image or a feeling to a reader, so have fun with that.

Sneaky Ninja question! What time in the day do you write the most?
I tend to write the best and most frequently during the morning and early afternoon. It’s after I’ve had a couple cups of coffee, check and respond to emails, and my head is clear and fresh. By about 3pm, I’ve made most of the progress I’m going to make for the day, so I’ll usually switch from writing to going back over what I’ve written and editing and polishing it. Evenings and nights are for reading.

I’ve got a BA in psychology and also studied graphic design and public relations. I went to grad school for anthropology but haven’t quite graduated yet. Lately I’ve been freelancing as a content writer.

Thanks, Dane! Best of luck hitting 50k this November.


One Response to Nanowrimo Spotlight: Dane O’Leary

  1. Dane O'Leary says:

    Hey Chris, I apologize that I didn’t post this months ago, I thought for sure that I had. Just wanted to say thanks for the nice little interview.

    Happy writing.


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