Ok, that's more than a little melodramatic, I'll admit, but my previous experience of National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) is exactly what you just imagined it to be like! It's something a writer will put themselves through because somewhere deep inside, they want that challenge. They want to prove to themselves, to the world no less, that they can do it. But, actually, doing it is the hardest, most hand-wrenching, head-banging process you can imagine... and you spend they entire month going "WHY, GOD, WHY? WHY DID I THINK I COULD DO THIS?!" as you stare at the miles of 50,000 words left to go and the glaring white screen of a blank page in Microsoft Word. You write, you curse, you write more, you drink another 2 cups of coffee, and write even more. You go to work, you spend the time thinking about the day's word target you've yet to meet (plus the target from yesterday you missed and carried over to today), you go home, rush a sandwich, write, curse, write, coffee, write, work... so on, so on... Then you reach December... and you start planning for the next one!
It's pretty masochistic. And guess what - I'm giving it another go! (hahaaa) My last attempt didn't quite meet the heady heights of 50,000 words, so in that respect I failed. However, what I did hit December with was a collection of 36,000-something words of an actual story. And that felt good!
Although I will be going in with a target of 50,000 words in the spirit of Nanowrimo, I think I'm going to remove any pressure from myself to hit daily word counts this time round. Worrying just made my writing worse. I'm going to write something every day of November, and if it's just a sentence, it's just a sentence. So what? The next day, I might write the "target" and more! Nanowrimo 2012 is going to be a more of a "flow" for me than 2011. I hope I'll beat last year's word count at the end of the event, but mostly I hope I'll be even happier with what I've produced.
Last year, I ended up writing mush that I didn't even recognise as my own, just so that I wrote 2000 words a day. So, having learnt from the experience, here are my new guidelines for 2013. Why don't you join me in this madness and see how we all do?
- Write every day (it is nanowrimo, after all)
- Have a PLAN (big mistake from last year = writing on a whim)
- Sequence doesn't matter (I fell into the trap of writing in a linear way last year, and just hit blocks constantly. If I want to write the last scene when I'm only just done with the first, I will)
- Be a bit of a hippy (sometimes, a bullet point list, a poem or a letter will seem more attractive than yet another pargagraph of prose. As long as it tells the story, I'm going to take whatever I fancy. I can align it all into one format in the 11 months of editing I've got coming up!)
- Enjoy it! (if I start resenting the screen, the pen, the characters, I'll stop. It's not worth slowly beginning to hate the thing I enjoy the most)