I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and is an event run in November for those wanting to try their hand at drafting a novel in a month. It’s not for me. I find November to be a busy month and the timing is all wrong. So I’m doing it in September. It’s not my thing people cheering me on to keep writing or the constant tweeting of word counts that tend to fill up my timeline. It’s all fine for those who feel it works for them, but I just need to keep writing and get it done as my writing friends will expect me to do. I’m lucky I have people who I know will just kick my ass if I complained, so I don’t and just get on with it.
I’m writing 2,000 words a day for the 30 days and that’s the first week in and I’m on target. Only three more weeks to go. I have a plan and I know the characters as this is the sequel to my best seller The Kill Chain. Working title is The Kill Switch. This will be my 13th novel so I’ve got experience of drafting in four weeks. The four week deadline is to determine I have a story and if not then I haven’t spent months and months on something that is going nowhere.
It’s about sitting down and doing it and fortunately I have my focus back. As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, The Kill Chain was a real slog over many months and required a complete rewrite. I’m not expecting any issues with this new draft. There is a bit of research going alongside the writing as it’s set in a hospital and there are bits and pieces I need to get right. I will probably need to reach out to those in the profession for some particular detail at some point. However, the main focus is on getting this down on paper this month because you can’t edit a blank page.
Do I enjoy this part of the process? I suppose not. It’s work and it needs to be done. I do know I enjoy editing and rewriting once I have confirmed I have a story in place. Thinking more on this, the initial draft is hell, editing and rewriting is great, and then once the proofreading stage is reached I get really nervous and anxious and don’t want to look at it anymore. I can’t even open my copy of the paperback of The Kill Chain. I’m terrified I will want to start changing things. Crazy I know, but it’s how I am. Maybe that will get easier. I hope so.
If you are intending to go for it this November I wish you all the best. Remember, if you find that 1,000 words a day is a comfortable target for you, then do that for 60 days. Don’t worry about how well it reads back, that’s for the next stage. Right now, just get the story down. If you find yourself stuck, jump to the next part. You can always go back later. There are no rules, and if anyone tells you different, just ignore them. This is about getting you into the habit of writing, adopting the mindset of a writer; it’s about getting you to think as a writer and act as a writer and write. I try not to miss a day, as it means four thousand words the next day and I find that a challenge. If I know I have to take a day off, then I try and bring the wordcount up to compensate. Set your own limits and don’t worry about what others are saying they are doing. Good luck!