So anyways, we’re mid way through October. That means that November is around the corner…and if November is around the corner, so too is NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month.
Essentially the challenge is to get 50,000 words out of your head and onto a page, or a laptop during the month of November.
I’ve done it three times now:
- The first time was 50,000 words full of semi autobiographical horse shite. Shite it was, but it was shite that needed to get out of my head in order to clear the way for other ideas to make their way in there.
- Enter year 2. That 50,000 words is now an 85,000 word manuscript that is…in the metaphorical version of the bottom drawer. Somehow the story feels too close to mine, so it will stay in the bottom drawer until that’s not the case.
- Year 3- last year. Now a 90,000 word manuscript, this one has been edited extensively and had 3 call backs over the last 9 months. It’s falling at the last hurdle, so needs another re-write.
So, am I entering again this year?
Yes. Even though I know how incredibly hard this is, I’ll be entering again. Even though I have other writing projects that need my attention in November, I’ll be entering again. Here’s why.
- 50,000 words isn’t a full novel, but it’s a bloody good start.
- It’s a great way to take a new idea for a test flight. By 50,000 words you’re going to know whether it’s got legs and, if it doesn’t, you’ve only wasted one month. In my view, that’s an efficient outcome.
- It’s one month where you can experiment with different techniques, different genres, different voices. Again, if it doesn’t work, you’ve only wasted a month. Last year I experimented with writing as if it were a project plan ie from the end backwards. This year I have a playlist on my ipod that I’m going to have a shot at putting a story around.
- If you’re a plotter or edit as you go, this is a great opportunity to just let the words flow. See what happens. No edits…not until December 1.
- With nanowrimo, there’s no escape, no catch-ups. There are also forums, emails of encouragement and a cast of hundred of thousands of other people doing it with you. If you’ve been struggling to establish a writing habit, I can’t think of a better way to do it.