Friday 8 December 2017

National November Writing Month - Winner

I'm a bit behind in posting (or should that be boasting?) about my National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) success, as I have been basking in the 'I don't have to write anything today' afterglow.

For those that are new to the writing game, this is a yearly November challenge to try and write 50,000 words in one month. The idea is to get you into the habit of writing daily and also to keep you writing forward and not continually editing or rewriting what you have written. There is also a June one now (JuNoWriMo) so you have two opportunities to do this each year or use both to get some serious writing done.

I find the pressure to write daily quite hard. In fact this is my fifth attempt and my first success, so I am not one of those that can be blaze about it and consider it a walk in the park. Most of my failures have also been down to trying to juggle work as well, but this time I had no work so I was able to give it my full attention.

I find I tend to hit a wall around the 10th day, but I managed to push forward this time. I had a trip to Edinburgh for a friend's book launch already planned, so I knew I was going to have to stop writing for about four days. I used this as a sort of deadline, raising my daily writing quota to compensate.

In the end I was surprised at how easy it was to maintain a 2,000 word daily quota, even doubling the daily word count of 1667 to 3334 on occasion to cover my four day absence. The trick I found was to write some of it in the morning, get some words under my belt before the children came home in the afternoon and then the evening shift was much easier. And also the trick of leaving it mid-scene or mid-sentence so I could pick it up again quickly.

I wrote directly into Scrivener too, which was new for me. I loved how easy it was to keep track of my daily word count and my overall progress with the Project Target tracker. I could easily change how much I wanted to write daily as well. It was simple compiling it into a Word version for verification at the end, and the entire process has definitely made me a fan of this software.

After my trip to Edinburgh I did struggle to climb back into it the novel and the routine of writing, but once I got going again, it felt normal. And that's the trick really, maintaining a certain level of writing, if not daily at least a few set days a week, which keeps it all flowing, like a muscle you are trying to build.

Previously I have left my novels for a year or sometimes more, which has made it necessary to re-read the entire thing to refresh my memory. Although that does give me the opportunity to do edits or rewrites, or add in scenes before I continue. 

I started a new novel for this NaNoWriMo, rather than finishing one off as I had done last year. And although what came out was not exactly as I had envisioned, it came out painlessly and flowed in a way that made writing forward easy to maintain.

I am not a planner on the whole. I have an idea, I tend to know the ending and I have a few scenes in my head I want to include. I have a page of notes: a bit of an outline, a few questions and the concept of what I am trying to achieve, but that is all. I didn't even have the main character's names until the week prior to starting NaNoWriMo, although they tend to pop into my head when I begin. I jot them down as I go along too, so I don't deviate. This novel has been swimming around my head for the last six months and I had let it gestate and grow a little before trying to shape it.

So now I've had a rest I'm considering my next step: continue with it until it is finished, or return to editing a previous novel? Yes, I know, I can do both. But come on, that would be pushing it a little, wouldn't it? It is the month of December afterall.

See? My ability to procrastinate is still in fine form and not been disrupted by my success in any way. 😉😀

1 comment :

  1. Congratulations! At least one writer I know won NaNoWriMo!