Drum roll please! It’s National Novel Writing Month, the aim is 50,000 words in 30 days, and come midnight tonight the challenge is ON.
It’s safe to say that NaNoWriMo was an absolute disaster for me last year. It completely crept up on me, I signed up without a clue what I was going to write about, and then kept restarting for a few days before giving up completely at a super early stage. It was not a success. But now it’s that time of year again, and this time I have a cunning plan! My main problems last year (apart from a complete lack of organisation) were mainly that I couldn’t settle on an idea, I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to write but felt that none of my ideas could be sustained to novel length. Because of this (and the fact that I’m generally quite lazy and incredibly easily distracted), it all went rather pear shaped rather quickly. Happily, this year I’ve come up with what could quite possibly be the perfect solution for me. Instead of writing one 50,000 word novel, I’m going to attempt to write 50,000 words of fiction in a series of (probably unrelated) short stories. Hopefully this means that I’ll find the word count a bit more manageable, I won’t have to come up with some kind of well-developed and lengthy plot to last for a whole novel, and I’ll get to try out lots of different ideas without it counting as a distraction. I’m meant to be experimenting with short stories anyway as part of my creative writing course, so everything should tie in rather nicely. Technically it will make me a bit of a NaNo Rebel because it’s not one lengthy work of fiction, but as long as I’m actually squeezing those creative juices it’s all fine and dandy.
There’s no way this is going to be easy. I’m the sort of person who tends to put off starting things because I spend too much time worrying about the right way to begin and trying to make everything perfect, so in a way NaNoWriMo is the perfect challenge for me. My creative writing teachers have made quite a big deal about the fact that it’s really important to just start rather than faffing about too much, because half the time the original beginning ends up being cut anyway when it comes to the editing stage. NaNoWriMo is pretty ideal for this. The whole point is to reach the word count, and to just start and keep writing even if you think it’s utter shite, because working on improving shite later on is better than trying to improve a blank page. This is very much taking the writing plunge, and I’m finding the thought of it incredibly exciting and also rather terrifying.
Now, on to practicalities. I’m already preparing for a few distractions. I’m going to be kitten sitting for the first weekend, and I think everyone knows that there is nothing more distracting than adorably fluffy baby animals. I also have an awful lot of work to do for my creative writing course before next week, none of which I’ve started yet because I went on a rather spontaneous trip to Paris instead. Plus my two week holiday is pretty much wrapped up, and I’ll be heading back to work next week and trying to squeeze in a bit of feverish scribbling in my lunch hour.
Obviously it would be amazing to reach the target of 50,000 words, but my personal goal is to aim for a minimum of 30,000 (although to be honest I’ll probably be super chuffed if I can produce anything!) With any luck a couple of the short stories might even be usable by the end of the month! It doesn’t really matter too much if they’re not though, I’m mainly using this as an exercise in writing freely and unplanned, and seeing what happens. It’s quite an exhilarating idea! This does also mean that I will need to be spending the next month or so permanently glued to a desk chair (and probably developing deep vein thrombosis). I’m putting everything else on hold until the end of November, which also means this blog. I’ll try and throw in a few NaNo updates as I go along, but everything else that’s not directly related to writing will be suspended until December. I have got a couple of reviews and a rather lengthy Writers’ Workshop thing in progress at the moment; if I manage to finish them before everything kicks off at midnight tonight then I’ll whack them up here, otherwise they’ll probably have to hold fire until December (or until I’m feeling super frustrated/distracted/procrastinatory(?) with the challenge).
Anyway, the clock’s ticking, I’m armed to the teeth with film soundtracks and sweets, and I’m all NaNoWriMo prepared (minus an idea or two) so I’ll see you on the other side. Don’t expect to see anything coherent on here until December. Until then, these fingers have some frantic typing to do…