NaNoWriMo: Week One Update

Goodness, where to begin. Obviously I knew this was going to be a massive challenge, but it seems I have once again underestimated the scale of the endeavour. Also, in typically ‘me’ style, I have again completely abandoned my plan of attack. I started out with one short story, wrote a few hundred words, ummed and aahed, abandoned it with an idea of returning later in the month, started another short story and did exactly the same thing. And then I got an idea for a novel, an idea which has the potential for enough development to fill 50,000 words. Happy days! So I started it, then rewrote what I had, then re-started it from a different point, and now I need to rewrite the original beginning so it will fit in later on. Good grief! And that was just the writing trickiness, I haven’t even taken into account the many and varied distractions yet, namely:

  • Kittens! And delightful little distractions they are too. When they’re not scaling curtains and trying to steal your food, they’re sleeping on your writing pads and trying to steal your pens. Who wouldn’t be distracted by these little balls of fluff!

001I’m no longer kitten sitting and have returned home to my own cat, but she’s also being rather distracting and forcing me to type most of this with one hand while she sleeps on my other arm.

  • Full time work. I returned after two weeks’ holiday on Monday, and it’s been super busy so I’ve had to do some extra hours on my lunch breaks, and even on my Saturday. Plus I’m meant to be applying for new jobs around about now as my current job’s being shipped off to India, so that’s another time-consuming activity to throw into the mix over the next few days.
  • College work. They’ve definitely upped the creative writing workload after half term, I’ve spent ages trying to get up to date with it all and I’ve still got to hand in a 3-5 page script and a poem on Wednesday. I know that might not sound like a lot, but I’ve never written scripts or poems before, and I think it’s going to be a struggle. Plus I’m really crap at writing dialogue, which is basically what a script is, so I think I’m going to have to dedicate quite a lot of time to this one.
  • I am generally rubbish and very easily distracted. Although I’m enjoying the writing, I like to write a bit and then mull it over for a while and then write a bit more, and that’s not really catered for within the time constraints. Plus I’m absolutely useless at refusing social invitations because I love seeing my friends, and I’ve also decided that now is the time I need to catch up on a year and a half of Supernatural. I really am that rubbish.

Basically, things are progressing, but not to the required speed. I’m still finding it quite hard to have the courage to just throw words down onto the page. I find myself getting too caught up in wondering whether I’m getting it right, rather than just getting it written. I know the tweaking and editing stage will come post-November, but I’m finding it really difficult to leave things be and perfect it later. Beginning is the hardest part, each time I sit down at my laptop I really struggle to get going and begin a new section. Once the writing’s underway I find it comes a lot easier, but writing those starting words is a real effort every time. I do think this will become easier with practice though, especially as I get further and further into the meat of the novel. I know a lot of it is based on my own worries and hang ups about trying to make it perfect though. I’ll be getting back my first critiqued pieces of work from my creative writing class this week though. None of it’s related to NaNoWriMo, but I’ve never really had any writing scrutinised before so I’m hoping it’ll be really useful and might throw up a few tips to help things flow a bit quicker.

As this is the 10th day of NaNoWriMo, ideally the average word count by the end of today should be 16,680. My personal targets for this point were between 10,000 and 20,000. (10,000 would have me on track for my minimum target of 30,000 words overall). Currently, as things stand right now, I’m at just over 3,000 words. This is far from an ideal NaNoWriMo situation, however all is not lost and there are many aspects that I’m happy with:

  • I may have only written a fraction of my word count goal, but it’s still more than I’ve written for any one project before.
  • I genuinely think my idea is substantial enough to sustain an actual novel, which is pretty damn exciting. And I also think this is an idea which I will see through to the end, even if it takes a lot longer than the month of November. Plus I’ve taken the time to actually plan it, so I have a thought-through plot for once. I’ve even done a tiny bit of research! Now all I have to do is get it on the page.
  • I’m still writing. Even if what I’m writing isn’t related to NaNoWriMo, I’m still writing ‘creatively’ on a really regular basis, so that’s got to be a good thing!
  • There’s still plenty of time. Anything can happen! Who knows, I could still pull this back. I’m not giving up hope yet. Although it might seem kind of rubbish in terms of numbers, I’m actually really pleased with my NaNoWriMo attempt so far. I know where it’s going and what I want to do with it, and it’s already a personal best for me. Although I don’t necessarily like the writing I’ve done so far, I don’t hate it either. It’s given me something to work with later on. It’s really crude and unpolished, and yes, pretty damn awful in places, but by putting it on paper I’ve made a record of what I wanted to say, and I can always go back and say it better in December.

I think it’s the ‘knowing’ part of it that’s making me less panicky about the situation. I know what’s going to happen in my plot, I know where it’s going to go and how it’s going to get there, so all I need to do is fill in the blanks. It’s quite a reassuring thought actually. Now all I have to do is overlook the fact that I’ve only written 1000 words and yet watched four episodes of Supernatural today, and think about how I’m going to begin the next scene. I’m going to try to stop thinking in terms of time constraints, and think instead about writing one word at a time. Until then, someone needs to confiscate my internet connection please.

See also NaNoWriMo.

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One thought on “NaNoWriMo: Week One Update

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo: The Final Curtain | The Steel Review

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