Well I’ve done it now.
You may remember I recently made the bold claim that I would write the first draft of my novel by Christmas. Since then I’ve written… very, very little of it. So I made a decision to take part in NaNoWriMo, the annual National Novel Writing Month, in which loads of people all over the world try to write a novel in the 30 days of November.
This feels like a good move for various reasons:
1. I work best under pressure. I have a pathological fear of letting people down, so give me a deadline and people checking up on me and I’m so much more productive.
2. By joining the NaNo community, I’m now in contact with lots of people who live near me and who are also trying to write a book. Part of the NaNo experience is write-ins, which as I understand it is where you meet up with other people and all write together for a bit. Much less chance of me straying on to Facebook if I know there are other writers keeping an eye on me.
3. I don’t actually have to write anything until November. This is good because I have no time until then, with two big events and a product launch all going on at the same time at work. So being able to not write without feeling guilty is nice. It’s also given me a bit more time to plan, and to more carefully sketch out my characters and plot. (In the last few days, two of my characters have changed career and one’s turned Canadian.) The idea of NaNo is apparently that you just write, without worrying about editing until later, so it’s probably a good idea to know what’s going to happen before I start.
4. Going back to the community I mentioned, I’ve already learnt so much from joining the local NaNo Facebook group. I even got brave the other day and introduced myself, asking for any tips, and was instantly inundated with loads of helpful advice. And it’s not even November yet.
5. I’ve been quickly discovering that writing a book can be a bit lonely, and while I fully expect to give up any semblance of a social life once it all kicks off, knowing that I’m working towards a goal in the company of other people is a really nice feeling. I also still feel slightly embarrassed, for a reason I can’t quite pin down, when I tell people I’m writing a book – but being part of NaNo somehow makes it feel less silly and more of a proper thing to do.
I’m so excited to start on November 1st (although of course nothing’s that simple, and I’ve got something booked the whole of the first weekend of the month. Doh!), and I’ve even managed to recruit a friend. And I’m working on another one. I see NaNoWriMo not only as a way to get the book written, but also to meet some new people, and to hopefully feel a sense of real achievement at the end.
Of course it could all go horribly wrong. I could be back here in a couple of months, shame-faced, admitting I gave up after two days. But I hope not, because I really really want this book to be written.
If anyone reading this has done NaNo in the past, or has written a novel before, I’d love to hear from you. In return you can have a free copy of my book 😉 Thank you!
PS Seriously, how do you pronounce it?