I recently made a vow to start drafting things longhand.
Like a trainee social worker or a graduate of philosophy, it is important for the NaNoWriMo participant to reflect on their experiences and achievements in order to get the full benefit from the experiment. So, what have I learned from churning out 50,310 of literary fiction over the past 29 days? (For the slower amongst you yes, this means I have now ‘finished’ the challenge for a second year).
- NaNo is not a time for Literary fiction. It is a time for quests, humour, twists and silliness.
- Literary Fiction is, if anything, harder than I anticipated. And I was anticipating that it would be well hard. It is not the sort of thing to attempt in a month. Not without about 50k forward planning anyway. At least I now have that…
- Write or Die is one of my favourite things on the internet. It has helped me focus on getting words down brilliantly, and I can only assume that had I known about it earlier this year I would have had a much higher word count – particularly in those difficult summer months.
- My inner critic is decimated. The other day I wrote 869 words in 20 minutes. These were not quality words.
- Other people doing better than you is a good motivational tool, so thanks to Writing Buddies John and Laura for racing ahead and finishing pure ages ago. Your purple-for-finished status bars on the website galvanised me right up.
Now to get ready for book 12 (which at this point in time is likely to be a series of one off webcomics, although we’ll see how I feel come Thursday…)
This weekend I started a journal documenting my last-ditch attempts to catch up with NaNo. This is how it went:
Saturday November 26, 13.40. I am sitting in our kitchen/living room listening to the hum of the washing machine and the wind outside. The enormous evergreen in the garden next door waves frantically at me and I wonder how much damage it would do if the wind was strong enough to knock it down – it’s as tall as this three story tenement building.
I should not be thinking about the tree, of course. I should be catching up on my NaNoWriMo story, which sits at 35, 962 words after a week of work, hanging around an industrial estate in Dundee, applications for funding and writing jobs, and last night an unexpected trip to everyone’s favourite grotty rock club in the cowgate. As I sat in this very same seat at 4am, scarfing down chunion crisps from the garage, my book was the last thing on my mind.
Time to Write or Die.
Forsooth, tis November already, which means NaNoWriMo must be in full flow. An update, then, on my progress.
Thus far I have been writing every day and maintaining a pretty decent word count without actually knowing what I want the book to be. Although this makes my lovely stats page look pretty, overall I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or not.
Many of my fellow Wrimos have been tweeting fairly consistently to detail their struggle to reach the daily word count, and I am beginning to find this a bit worrying.