Day 22

Another NaNo post. There’s just over a week to go, and it’s getting really good. Sitting down to commit a couple of thousand words to the page is easier and easier – I watch my word count less like a hawk as I write, and the actual words seem better, the story more cohesive.

Making the time to write each day, and the space, and the concentration; I hope these are things I can carry through after this month is finished.

Most of all, I can’t wait to actually read what I’ve written. So far, I’ve only allowed myself to look back at the last sentence or so to check my place. I wonder what it’s like. I hope it (more or less) makes sense.

I’ve started getting nervous about all the people I said could read it once it’s done. Before I began, the book was an abstract thing, and I had no emotional investment in it, no reason to say no. Now I am protective. I want the chance to edit it a bit, improve it.

In the past week or so I’ve started reading again, looking to authors I haven’t read much of for inspiration. I’ve noticed that there’s probably a lack of description in my story. Maybe that’s a good thing, that I’ve got enough to say on plot and dialogue. But it’ll need adding.

The pep talks from NaNoWriMo have been particularly useful, and the forums are equal parts comforting and hilarious. It’s a lovely community of writers; a very supportive environment for first-time novelists.

Here’s a confession: I didn’t think I’d actually be able to do it.

Now, I know I will. I’m just over 10,000 words shy of the 50,000 pass mark and there’s still enough time to write the extra scenes I’ll need to finish the book. I have a better idea of how much I can write in an hour, in half an hour. I know without a doubt that I need, at the very least, a basic plan to write a book. My list of scenes has been the best thing to keep me writing each day, even if I don’t feel particularly inspired at the time.

Just over a week to go.

Seven days down

So, it’s seven days in to NaNoWriMo – how’s it going?

Fortunately, it’s been easier than I expected. 50,000 words sounds overwhelming, but 1,677 words a day is not actually that bad.

It also isn’t taking me as long as I planned to meet the word count target each day. Since I completely cleared my schedule out before November started, that leaves me with the lovely sensation of having extra time on my hands. Keeping on track now feels comfortable and manageable.

Now I just need to use that time to work on improving my plot and sub-plots, to really get to know my characters, instead of just saying “I’m done!” after a few hours each day.

A lot of this comes from my number one revelation (and probably something I already knew) – that I cannot work without a plan. I only managed one day of ‘pantsing’ before I admitted this and drafted out an outline. Now I’m working from a list of scenes. I can add to or modify the list, but that’s my basic structure.

The more I write, the more I want to write. At just over 10,000 words, it’s become the most I’ve ever written on a single project. That in itself is a success. I’m seeing inspiration everywhere and my desire to write is extending to other projects – ones I probably don’t have time for but am really excited about working on.

One big, exciting thing: I’m going to Glasgow for a weekend – the city where my story is based. This is where my romantic side shows up: the idea of walking around the same places my characters live in, seeing the same buildings they see and hearing the same accent, fills me with joy. The long train ride is also perfect for getting in some extra writing.

A note for NaNo critics: you’re basically missing the point. It is a month of fun, experimentation and feeling free enough to try to create something substantial.

Hopefully the rest of the month will go as smoothly; I’m trying to gradually increase the amount I write each day. More soon.

NaNoWriMo 2013

After finding out about NaNoWriMo¬†on the 5th of November last year and promising I would do it in 2013, I’m trying to prepare for the mammoth task of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. I am beyond excited.

My planning isn’t exactly concrete – I have a basic idea and a few details about my main character, but that’s about all so far.

I am really looking forward to being able to concentrate purely on writing for a while, although it does mean I’m racing to get things sorted out in the last bit of October.

There are also local meet-ups near where I live, and support via social media. I particularly like the way the NaNo team send emails encouraging you to do it, and I’m sure they’ll be really useful when I’m stuck with writer’s block.

It’s a lovely idea, and if it gets me writing more regularly and just more, then it’ll have been a success. For all the people who think it’s a stupid idea to write so much so quickly (“It’ll just be poor quality!”), there’s always December for editing, and you can’t edit what you haven’t written.

Is anyone else taking part this year? Or any advice from NaNo veterans?