(Inter)National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual event aimed at getting would-be novelists to actually get that first draft written. The idea is that you sign-up to the site (link here) and, using their help, prompts, advice and guidance, get 50,000 words down during the month. It’s run in a gently competitive manner, with word counters available to check and display your daily wordage and the total so far. There are local groups, where physical meetings and events take place, as well as virtual meetings and gatherings for discussion, encouragement and simple fun. As part of this process, the site also raises funds to help with juvenile literacy (a worthwhile cause for any writer, surely?)
Last year I was too busy to take part, but the year before I’d decided to have a go, in order to kick start an idea that had been buzzing around my brain for a while. Over the month I wrote 112,242 words (click here to see the final post on that). In the end, the novel was fundamentally flawed in a way I couldn’t repair, so I abandoned it during the third edit. But the exercise was nevertheless useful in that it demonstrated that I could actually write that number of words each day, consistently. And, of course, the public element is a great motivator toward healthy self-discipline and the avoidance of procrastination.
This year, I’m about half way through writing the first draft of the third book in a fantasy trilogy (watch this space for news on the publication of book 1 – A Seared Sky: Joinings – to be published by Fantastic Books Publishing by the end of the year!). This isn’t really what NaNoWriMo is about. But, on the other hand, it is about getting the first draft finished, and that’s what I want to do. It would have been finished by now under normal circumstances, but my darling wife broke her wrist in July and that meant I had to take over quite a few of the household duties she carries out in the background without me ever having to think about them. (I appreciate that, as a man, I have a great advantage over all those Mums/wives who have to juggle work with writing and childcare). Our arrangements, by the way, are mutually agreed. I do certain things about the house and Valerie does others. But, with one arm out of commission, she clearly couldn’t do many of those things she does normally.
Now she’s recovered, almost, and able to carry on with her normal jobs, leaving me free to write at more length. We celebrated our silver wedding this year and took an extended holiday to celebrate, so I’m now spending a good deal of time re-reading what I’d already written to the point of our departure (around 116k words) so I can recall all the incidents before I continue with the tale, which will probably end up at around 210k.
So, on 1st November, I intend to be ready to get on with the writing and will start my counter on that day at 0 words so I can keep track of my totals for each day and for the month.
How about you? Always promised yourself you’d write that book? Willing to have a go? Here’s the linkto the website, where you register.