We need to talk about Nanowrimo

It’s only taken until the 3rd of November this year, but I’ve given up on Nanowrimo again (I think I lasted 8 days or so when I last tried it). Pumping out 50000 words in a month regardless of quality just doesn’t suit me, I struggled to just under the average required on Sunday, added a thousand or so more yesterday and today ran out of steam altogether.

It’s been useful in one respect, in that what I have done so far this month has suggested part of the plot, but the problem I had is that because I was just writing anything and knew that I’d come back and rewrite it, I had no urge to continue. I think what I need to do from now on is plan; write character studies, outline the plot so that I know what each chapter is about, then write a first draft that will be more or less the completed product, minus a tweak here and there.

I’m going to take a day or two out to think how to proceed, then carry on – I need to get into the habit of writing, which was one of the main reasons I jumped on the Nanowrimo bandwagon, but I can’t work to daily word counts. If it takes two months, three months or a year, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m happy with the finished product.

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We need to talk about Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo 2015 Day 1

1630 words. A little disappointed it wasn’t more, I was hoping that writing without constant word counts would help me get away from worrying about the word count and ‘cut loose’ a little, however my first effort came in at just under 1000 and it took two further spells to bring it close to the necessary daily average count to bring in a 50000 word novel by the end of the month.

Obviously word count isn’t everything, but it will be helpful to give me something to build on once the first draft is complete. Part of the reason for doing this is to get away from the notion that the first draft has to be perfect or nearly so (which means some projects have been killed off before they’ve got off the ground) and that just writing for its own sake can bring its own rewards. Which it has – I haven’t plotted this one too much, just relying on the story to propel it forwards and did no character development, but some aspects of the characters are coming to the fore – and nods to the future storyline as well. Another interesting difference from previous attempts at novels is that there’s not a single word of dialogue. Whether there will be at all remains to be seen, but I’m seeing this exercise as a way to shape the outline and I’ll add dialogue in the second draft once I know how important particular passages are.

In short, I’m cautiously optimistic so far, (very) early days yet though. Watch this space.

Nanowrimo 2015 Day 1