Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Race

I spent most of October trying to decide if I was going to do NaNo again this year (all right, not most, just a few moments every now and then!). That's the thing with NaNo - it's easy to build it up into this huge thing when the whole idea of it is to simply write. And write. And write. For the past five years, November for me has meant Hong Kong. I go there for two weeks or so, teach lots of writing classes, run training seminars and do school visits. It's pretty full-on, and although I try to write, by the end of the first week, I'm kind of short on headspace for writing.

So the question for me is: how many words could I write in two weeks? Can I get such a good head start on NaNo that I could coast the last two weeks? If you've ever done NaNo, you know the answer to that is nearly always NO. So I know from the outset that I'm unlikely to reach the 50,000 words. That would be enough to put off a lot of writers I know (the ones who stay up all night on the 29th to get to their 50 big ones).

But I see NaNo as an opportunity to launch into a whole new project. To obsess about it for at least 15 days, to get a huge amount of words written that I otherwise wouldn't manage. It's the focus of NaNo that works for me. When you have to write every single day, and write as much as you possibly can (no measured 1667 words a day for me), the story fills your head. You go to sleep thinking about it. You wake up thinking about it. This morning I woke up and thought about my story and realised I'd left out a crucial element in my first chapter. So today my first job is to go back and weave it in (that'll give me another 300 words or so!).

Are you doing NaNo this year? How are you going? Did you get off to a roaring start? Share your thoughts!


Snail said...

I have such a slack attitude that I have to work to externally imposed deadlines, so I treat NaNoWriMo as an editor drumming their nails on the desk.

Also, it's a good way of avoiding the edit-as-you-go tripwire. So it's all about discipline for me.

(And I've just noticed that the official site has crashed --- possibly under the weight of the whole of the western hemisphere uploading word counts simultaneously.)

Sherryl said...

So that would be all the Americans uploading their word count for Day 1 while we're busy on Day 2 here!
Are you working on your crime novel, perchance?

nathan Luff said...

Wow I have never heard of this NaNoWriMo business but now having researched it I think it sounds fantastic! What a great way to get down to business. While the idea of writing 50,000 words in one month puts me in a partial coma, I do love a challenge.

Sherryl said...

It only started yesterday, Nathan. Go for it!