For the first time, I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo. For anyone who doesn’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month and it has taken place every November since 1999. The aim is to write 50,000 words in a month and then the editing can follow at your leisure in December or whenever. I have flirted with the idea of writing a novel before but I haven’t made it past the planning stage. Some of my previous planning is still saved and I may revisit for a future novel or novels but in the meantime, I thought I would take up the challenge of just writing and getting my first novel underway.
Three weeks into the challenge and I have written just short of 10,000 words. It works out at an average of 500 words a day. While I could see this as a failure because I am 9 days and 40,000 words away from the target, I see it as a success.
Let me explain why.
I enjoy writing but I find that life often gets in the way. I know real writers are supposed to find their way around obstacles but sometimes it just isn’t possible. I don’t want to make excuses but for a variety of reasons my writing was sporadic. To have written a few hundred words most days (I have written for 19 days out of 21) is a success. It is a success because I have been writing regularly. I have been writing regularly and enjoying it. And, because I am writing most days, I know where I am going with the story. I won’t have to remind myself at a later date what I had previously written. My plot and characters will stay with me on a daily basis until the story is told in full.
I had not previously achieved this without the goal of NaNoWriMo.
With 9 days to go, I don’t expect to have 50,000 words written but what I do expect is to have a fully formed skeleton; the skeleton being the plot outline. I can then work on putting flesh on the bones.
I’m happy with my progress on my practice novel. I’m glad I took up the challenge and I would do it again.
I would love to hear about other people’s experiences in NaNoWriMo.
Maybe you’re just like me, a newbie to novel-writing. Maybe you find it easy to knock out 50,000 words.
Feel free to leave a comment below.
Happy Bank Holiday Monday people! For me it was. Today I got a little taste of the life I dream of.
I would like to be a writer and work from home. Today I was fortunate enough to have a holiday while nobody else in my family did. I took my son to school in the morning, played with my daughter for a bit and carried on with the mundane – housework etc. before delivering my daughter to nursery in the afternoon. Then, came the unusual part – two whole hours to myself.
You may remember one of my earlier posts, in which I cited Brendan O’Carroll’s advice that you should get to know your characters by writing 20 pages or so about them. So, that’s what I did. I’m not at 20 pages yet but I started writing about my main character’s past and I loved it. I enjoyed the feeling of creation but oddly it felt like I was getting to know someone that already exists. I will definitely carry on with this method and repeat it wherever necessary. I want to know my characters inside out before I participate in NaNoWriMo in November. I would recommend this method.
Anyway, I digress. The purpose of this post was to put in writing how this taster felt. It felt good. It has revived my goal and gave me an extra boost to achieve it. No more thinking I’m too tired and it’s too late to write now after I have given mundane tasks my attention. Lunch breaks will be more productive for me too and any other time I can squeeze writing in, I will. I want to make this happen. I will make this happen.
This week has been one of those “life gets in the way” weeks, or to be more precise, work gets in the way. I have struggled through this week thinking about writing but not actually doing much and any writing that I did do was forced and in all honesty, poor. But, Thursday night’s Creative Writing course kick-started me again. We did a short exercise in writing dialogue. We were given a list of pre-determined characters in which we had to pick two and then set up a dialogue between them in a few minutes. The characters I chose were “angry old woman” and “displaced alien”. What follows was the dialogue I wrote. Admittedly, it’s not perfect but it was a fun exercise to do. If I find myself in a slump again like this week, I would definitely repeat this exercise. Silliness is very therapeutic albeit not a route to riches! So anyway, here goes:
“Get out of my garden!” Agnes shouted.
She had become angrier with every year that passed.
“Sorry,” the alien said in a small voice, “I had nowhere else to go.”
“Aww, me heart bleeds for ye! Close the gate on the way out.”
“I am saddened by the harshness in your voice. I would have expected your kind to be more welcoming.”
“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m fond of my pansies so clear off!”
The alien turned and walked towards the gate. He turned his head 360 degrees without moving his body and said, “You would be welcome on my planet anytime.”
Agnes threw a garden gnome at him.