This month I’m attempting my first NaNoWriMo. It’s 7 days in and I’ve written 11800 words so far.
Even at this early stage I can say it’s been the best boost to my writing. I’ve previously been daunted by NaNoWriMo. It’s insane. It’s unrealistic. I have a day job. I have a social life.
Then two weeks ago, a fellow member of the Manchester Spec Fic Writing Group just said something that convinced me. It’s not about making the perfect novel in a month. It’s about writing writing writing and ignoring the inner editor for the month. The discipline of sitting down and writing 1667 words every night.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I realised fantasy novels ended and there was no way for me to permanently live in them. I wrote an unwieldy first novel between the ages of 16-21. Then I abandoned all that for short stories.
The funny thing is that except Edgar Allen Poe and Roald Dahl, I didn’t have a lot of experience with short stories. They are a difficult and underappreciated fiction form in many ways to concisely provide a storyline, character and setting in about 4000 words. I’ve grown to really appreciate short stories as I’ve read more to improve my writing. Odd gems and ideas that can be quickly absorbed over breakfast or on a bus ride.
But when was I going to wrote the novel?
I always had excuses. I was doing a postgrad degree. I was planning a wedding. But really I was just afraid. I had an image of the novel as something sacred that would just magically come out in final draft form.
Nanowrimo has helped me get over that barrier. My husband reminds me every day of the goal I set and I drag myself over to the computer. Even if I don’t finish, this is the longest continuous piece of work I’ve written since that early and painfully bad first novel.
And that can only be a win. I hope everyone who is attempting NaNoWriMo finds it as useful and successful as I have so far!