No, not the sound of a siren but the sound of a pen scratching on paper. I’m participating in the annual writing challenge to write 50k words in one month. The challenge suggests that it’s quite possible to write a novel in a month, though that’s not strictly true. Very few novels are only 50k words and if it’s your first stab at the particular project it’s a first draft. But that’s not the point. Is it. The point is to demonstrate that you can, given the motivation and inspiration of other writers, sit bum on seat and write. The word count is immaterial. It’s the intention that matters. In fact, you can write any number of short stories or flash fiction or poems to reach the word count you set for yourself. So it’s open to any writer who steps up to the plate… and starts to spin.
I thought I’d share are a few facts about my NaNo experience:
- I’ve participated 8 years and written a total of 324,699
- Many of those words turned into novels which I have self published
- I write all first drafts longhand, usually in fountain pen, this year in pencil
- I write in 15 minute stints and average 500 words per stint
- This year I’ve set myself the word count over 6 days a week, so I need to write 2k a day. So my writing session takes just over the hour with short breaks in between stints.
- I write the first stint in bed, after I’ve written my morning pages – to clear my head – then the final three stints are usually written in the camper van with the odd cat for company
- I don’t participate in the NaNoWriMo community per se, but we do have a support forum on Writers Abroad, my online writing community
- This year is the first year I’ve seriously planned out my project. It’s been in my head for ages and I needed to get some things thought about as I plan to do a series, probably a trilogy.
- I created a music list but haven’t listened to it during my writing sessions. I usually play it when I’m revisiting my notes, character charts and plans the evening before.
Writing a first draft can be done any time of the year. Participating in this challenge has shown me that when I want to, when I can find the dedication and the motivation, you can apply the principles of this challenge any time. Yes, you truly can! It’s a good way to round off the year though, with at least some pages to revise and rewrite.
You can always edit a bad page…
You can’t edit a blank page
– Jodi Picoult