Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriNot!

Hello again!

It’s good to be back. If you’re wondering where I’ve been… Well nowhere really, nowhere but inside my head, working on a new project.

At the end of October, I blogged about taking time out from to really get going on my novel, which I started at the beginning of October and initially, did very little about! As some of you may be aware, November was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and many writers have been dedicated to completing a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days. If you are one of these writers, and you managed this, I salute you! That takes some dedication and I look forward to reading your  novels some day soon.

I have been using most of my blog reading/writing time to work on my novel, but have still kept up with all of my other commitments and so haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked. However, over the course of the month, despite starting two new big work-related projects and having a very sick toddler for part of the month, I have managed to write just over 10,000 words. It’s not NaNoWriMo but it’s not bad going either!

At first, I kept wanting to go back and edit my work, which really slowed me down but I have now managed to let go of that and I haven’t even been stopping to break my work up into chapters yet. I also looked at my word count every time I sat down to begin with, and would feel annoyed if I didn’t manage to write at least 500 words each time I sat down. Once I let go of this, I found I could write much more without even realising it. I guess my biggest learning curve this month has been letting go of things. Here’s what else I’ve learned:

  • Writing when I really don’t feel like it/have other things on my mind just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been told time and again that ‘good’ writers must write despite this. Well, every time I’ve tried this I’ve written badly. Very badly. It’s just not worth it. The book is in me and it comes out when it’s ready. I give it a certain amount of hours each week and if nothing comes out, then I do some research or refer back to my plot outline instead – that way I’m still working on it even if I’m not writing it
  • Reading fiction on the days that I’m writing is not a good idea. I often find myself taking on the style of that particular writer. So I have been reading some interesting non-fiction this month!
  • Not blogging, or reading blogs, for a month has freed up a few  hours a week, which I have been able to use to focus on the novel. Now that I’ve got the momentum going I am back to blogging (I’ve missed it!), but think I will reduce the number of posts to once a fortnight to ensure I don’t slow down too much on the novel
  • I’m making mistakes, but that’s ok. I can fix them later. As a friend recently said, ‘you can’t edit what you haven’t written!’
  • I’m not scared any more.

So, I will post updates here from time to time but there’s no timetable for that because I’m taking the slow and steady approach to this novel and the way I see it, it takes as long as it takes. Even if I don’t post any updates, I will talk about it on twitter with the #amwriting hashtag and I’ll definitely let you know when it’s finished!

Thanks for your support!

The novel – an honest update

Earlier this month, I announced on twitter (as a short poem on National Poetry Day) that I had started writing a novel. I then blogged about it and said that I would post updates to this blog. It’s not even been a month yet but here’s the thing… I haven’t actually done very much about it.

Oh, it started well. I had a dream, which gave me the basic idea for the story. I got very excited about it and I told my sister, who was also excited for me. Then I wrote a basic plot outline and started writing the introductory chapter (I call it this as I’m not yet sure whether it will be the prologue, chapter one, or something else…). I went away and came back to it the next day. It didn’t feel right. So I started over. I’ve done this twice now and as I write, there are still only 1,260 words on the page.

I got a bit upset, so I wrote some other stuff instead, thinking I’d ‘come back to it.’ I’ve added a word or two here and there, but it’s not enough. I keep talking about it and then actually doing very little. This is not good. I need to focus, really focus, and get some writing done.

So why am I here, blogging today? You might wonder… Well, I said I’d update you on my progress – whether or not I’ve made any! Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • I’ve become far too used to writing short stories and am out of the habit of writing for any great length of time
  • I want to edit what I’ve written about every 500 words. I keep stopping to do so and then end up starting over
  • I have very little writing time, which I need to be more possessive over
  • I am brilliant at procrastinating
  • I’m scared. It’s a big project.

And so here’s what I plan to do about it:

  • Be more possessive about my writing time. Use it primarily for writing the novel. The blog posts can wait
  • Flesh out my plot outline so that I can use it to refer back to should I get ‘stuck.’ I can always change it should the story take a different turn
  • Use the plot outline to break the novel down into manageable ‘chunks.’ Allow myself to edit a little after completing each chapter (or three, I might need to review this)
  • Embrace the fear and just get on with it.

So that’s where I’m at. Tomorrow sees the start of National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo) and although I won’t be officially participating (announcing that I’ll write 50,000 words in a month will just terrify me and make me watch the word count rather than what I’m writing), I am going to enter into the spirit of things by taking a blogging break and concentrating on the novel for the month (I’m sure I won’t be the only one!). Hopefully this will get things moving along.

I’ll still be around on twitter but I might be a bit quiet. Normal service will resume in December and let you know how I’ve been getting on.

Good luck to everyone who has signed up to NaNoWriMo – I look forward to hearing how you all get on!