NaNoWriMo - write til your fingers burn
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
November sees the return of the annual writing marathon, National Novel Writing Month (https://nanowrimo.org/), an initiative which started in Berkeley, California, and is now followed around the world by legions of enthusiastic writers, hammering out their magnum opus while fuelled by caffeine, chocolate and dreams of movie adaptations... or maybe that was me! For after winning a national science fiction novel competition with a 10,000 word sample and a synopsis in the summer of 2016 I suddenly had the interest of Gollancz and had to submit a full manuscript. No problem! All I had to do was write it! I holed myself up in a remote croft on the coast of Wester Ross (NW Scotland) for a couple of weeks in September and blocked out a further 20,000, which helped to 'kick-start' it and get me in the zone. But I was still catastrophically short, and so in November of that year, I cracked my knuckles and settled down to the NaNoWriMo challenge. It proved quite addictive - you post up your completed word count each day, and only upload the rough draft near the end to verify you have actually written it (rather than just made up the progress). Knowing that thousands of others were also embarked upon the same endeavour was motivational - it felt a bit like running a marathon with a whole mass of humanity sweeping you along from the starting line. There were regular meet-ups locally, if I had wished to go (I never made it in the end), and lots of online interaction via the forums, where morale-boosting was readily available. See how much progress I made, and how many words I had to write to reach it the next day and the next, kept me 'on task'. When some days I had a burst of inspiration and wrote 2 or 3 thousand words, then my subsequent word count went down. By the end of the month I had written a further 50,000 words, and so was up to the 80,000 limit for submission to the publisher. I had done it! Now, all I had to do was to edit it once my fingers had cooled down...
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