A writing friend of mine raved about NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago but I really didn’t get what she was on about and, as I was working 16 hour days at the time, there was no way I could commit to it. However, being out of work at the moment means I theoretically have more time to write. Unfortunately, I have a million other things to fill my day with and, in between applying for umpteen jobs, redecorating the house and having a major clear-out, writing often takes a back seat. I have tried very hard to make sure I write on most evenings but sometimes I’m tinkering with an application form and, before I know it, it’s past bedtime.
My first novel took me a decade to write. To be fair, I learned my craft during that time (and am still learning), I changed point of view, I dumped some major characters and I scrapped a lot of what I’d written but, all in all, it was a very laborious process. Novel 2 is a sequel so I have the benefit of knowing all the main characters very well already. I decided to take a different approach. At the start of the summer, I plotted out what would happen in each chapter. I didn’t do this in much detail but, as I worked my way through, I could hear certain bits of dialogue in my head and picture certain locations. Actually writing it has been so much easier to the point that, in 4 months, I’ve written 75k words. Ten years to a few months has been very refreshing. The other big change for me has been that I’m not editing as I go. At the time, I hadn’t realised that this was how NaNoWriMo worked. I knew there was a plan to write 50k words in a month but I didn’t realise it was just about a draft only without editing. When I decided to sign up, I originally saw NaNo as a way of maybe finishing novel 2. I now know that NaNo is meant to be a fresh book and, even if it wasn’t, I will hopefully have nearly finished novel 2 by the start anyway so I now see it as a way of banging out the final book in my trilogy (or half of it anyway).
This does mean, of course, that I have the unenviable task of 2 novels to edit at the same time but, as they’re in the same series, it may actually be a good thing. Novel 1 has made its way into the big bad world, seeking an agent or publisher, and NaNo will meant that if (when???) I get the offer of a publishing deal, I am already well on my way with the sequels. Without it, I’d probably let novel 2 eek pretty far into next year and maybe be starting novel 3 by the end of the year.
I don’t plan on doing any of the meet-ups. There isn’t a group where I live and I can’t afford to travel to where the nearest one is. I may join in some forum chat but, if I’m honest, I’d rather just go for the discipline and try to get to the 50k words rather than get distracted by the add-ons. Sorry if that makes me sound anti-social!
My biggest concern is that job hunting will take over and I’ll feel more and more guilty about the time spent on writing instead of completing applications and sending off my CV but I’ll just have to keep strong and committed to both. Perhaps I need to keep Facebook closed down as that’s my worst distraction!
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