NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has not been on my to-do list for the last 4 years.
I first tried it in 2011 and ‘won’ (meaning I completed the target of 50,000 words written in the month of November), and then did the same in 2012. It was fun and exhilarating, but it’s also a bit of a pressure, especially when you have other things on, Christmas on the way, a day-job…
In 2013 I wrote down all the reasons I wouldn’t be taking part in NaNoWriMo – but now I can’t find them. What I did find is this:
Words are my friends, they are my enemy. I need to write more, more, more and the backspace button is not my friend. Pruning is not allowed. Quantity over quality is my aim – I think.
It’s not that I want to write crap and congratulate myself at the end when I (hopefully) have 50,000 words in a document. The idea is to break down the barriers to writing, to get SOMETHING down on the page that can be edited and re-drafted later.
Analysis is the enemy of the novelist; too much agonising over the correct word, crafting the most perfect sentence, or browsing the net in the name of crucial research. GET IT WRITTEN NOW and then you have a framework to play with.
This year NaNoWriMo feels right. It called to me back in September; a gentle whisper that gradually became an urgent: do it do it do it. Write. New. Things.
I think it’s because I’ve not been writing new work since the edits on my debut novel stalled over the summer (June to be exact), and ever since I’ve experienced the slow creep of crippling #writer-guilt manifesting in the following thoughts:
How can I call myself a writer when I’m not working on my book; not actually writing?
How can I ever hope to get published when I’m not doing anything to progress my work, my practice, my writing endeavours?
NaNoWriMo has become the perfect antidote to my #writer-guilt.
I’m a little over a day behind now – I was inspired back to my book edits (oh the irony!) – but I’ve started so I’ll finish. I’m a ‘pantser‘, what can I say?
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How are you getting on? Have you done it before?
Meanwhile, keep up to date with me, my writing – NaNo-related and otherwise – and learn a few new words along the way with THE WORD, my newsletter for writers and word-lovers.