Day 4: In which I narrowly evade the Aliens’ Lair

Okay so I’m running late.

I’m finding that I’m too rushed in the mornings at the moment to get any words in.

I could cut out my 30 minutes workout, but I know from experience that would be a false economy. My body and brain do not function without exercise. I get lethargic and depressed, which is not conducive to hitting the daily 1667 words.

Despite a late start I have managed to drag myself to reach the daily word-count. Thanks to word-wars and plot suggestions from the great peeps in the chat-room.

Eat that evil alien horde sent by Baba Yaga (my Municipal Liaison) to (motivate) abduct me and take over my brain!

word-count for today: 1704

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Day 3: Where LIFE starts to meddle with my novelling.

Until gone 7pm this evening my day’s word-count was at zero.

While I have been busy all day; walking the dogs and doing housework; doing a day’s work at the office, getting shopping on the walk home, preparing dinner; I have been thinking about writing and all of the words I could have created instead of wasting my time with all the mundane ‘stuff’.

Finally I managed to sit myself down and get some words in. At first I felt unmotivated, I thought about listening to some music to inspire me, but finding something suitable could take a while and I was in danger of procrastination. In the end I decided to log on to the Nanowrimo chatroom.

Even when there isn’t much conversation going on, just knowing you are not alone and that there are other people out there typing away, aiming for the same goal, encourages you to get stuck in. If they’re managing to do it; often beating more than twice your word-count, and still fitting in all that other mundane ‘stuff’ then so can you.

I have now reached the first milestone of 5K. Later than I had intended (I need to get ahead as I have my Granddaughter to stay this weekend), but I am back on target for today at least.

Todays word-count: 1697words
(5136 words total)

Day 2: Meetups and getting off to a good start.

Yesterday I attended our region’s first official write-in of November 2014. For a good few years the venue; a local pub, has allowed us to invade with our laptops and insanity during the month of November.

It was great to meet up with regulars and some new faces too. You can identify the Nano-veterans by the fact that they are already showing signs of insanity this early on in the month; going off on random tangents mid conversation, fanatical pep-talks rallying others to join, and talking about their characters as if they are real people and have a free will of their own (as my characters are in the habit of doing).

At this early stage of Nanowrimo our novels are like new shoots; fragile things that need to be nurtured and gently encouraged to grow. With our muses nourished with plenty of drink and good food (cake please), we did some writing to coax our word-counts towards the first daily target of 1667 words. While it is a good idea to get a head start, this is not the stage to be forcing your novel. You are in this for the long-haul, and need to reserve strength and will-power to see you through to the end of the month.

Meeting up with fellow writers is great for sharing inspiration, getting solutions to any sticking points in your plot, discussing ways around real-life commitments that might eat into novel-ing time during month, or finding an unwanted to character to adopt. Often just having someone as a sounding board helps clarify your thoughts.

Nanowrimo is all about community. Having a group of like-minded people to cheer on, give you support when you’re feeling down, and celebrate success, is what gets you through.

Word-count (so far today) 3439 words.

Day 1: Another November of Insanity Begins on the Stroke of Midnight

Last night, All Hallows Eve I stayed up late to welcome in The Witching Hour. Was I awaiting the arrival of the Dark Ones from the Forbidden Plane? Or conjuring spirits from the grave? A possibility… but no.

I was gearing up for the kick-off of the international event National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). Nanowrimo is a yearly online event where amateur and professional writers try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

It is also a non-profit organisation which through The Young Writers Program promotes creative literacy to children, The Come Write In Program  provides free resources to libraries, community centres, and local bookstores, and Camp NaNoWriMo provides a virtual writing retreat and resources for writing projects.

I first stumbled into this insane yet strangely fun challenge some 8 years ago through Neil Gaiman’s journal. Awaiting the start of November I thought I had set myself an impossible goal; 50k in 30 days sounded crazy. I had only a rough plan for my novel and the daily word target of 1667 to guide me on my way. After a month of mad typing, berating myself for my lack of talent, then shouting some more at myself to shut up and get on with the writing, I reached the 50K goal. (That critical voice I have come to know well isn’t actually mine, but that of The Evil Inner Editor. I am sure I will have plenty to say about that harridan sometime this coming month.)

The next year, realising this wasn’t as difficult as expected, I decided I would try pantsing it (writing with little/ no planning), and could allow myself to spend some time on the forums. Here participants share advice, talk through issues and cheer each other on to reach the 50K goal. I ended up spending more time chatting about writing than actually writing. Tellingly most of my time was spent in the ‘Nanowrimo Ate My Soul’ lounge. However, this was not a mistake, I may have failed to reach the target, but I had a great time being part of a community of writers and found a way to make an often solitary activity sociable.

Since then I have rationed my time on the forums, ensuring I reach my daily word-count before I venture into the time sump that is the online community. I have also kept to the regional forums where you don’t get a million people replying to your every post.

Over the past 8 years I have had a mixed bag of Nanowrimo experiences; years when I have planned my novel and still lost; years when I’ve pantsed it and still won. No matter if I’ve won or lost, I have always had fun going through this strangely addictive insanity, getting some more words written than I would have otherwise, and sharing this all with my writing buddies.

Word-count: 465 words written in the 10 minute midnight word-sprint before I fell asleep.