Happy NaNoWriMo day!
Well, today’s the day.
Today’s the day all of us aspiring writers out there begin to feverishly scribble all our thoughts and feelings and half-plotted stories down, in the hopes that by the end of November we’ll have something vaguely assembling a finished draft (or depending on the genre you’re writing, a half-finished draft).
For those of you who are new to the writing scene, the idea behind NaNoWriMo is to write as much as you can during November to order to create a writing habit. After November, you can start to sort out the mess you’ve written during the past month (no disrespect, but trust me, it WILL be a mess), bin it, start something new, or whatever takes your fancy writing-wise. The idea is that you take this month and focus on your writing – no distractions or excuses, just write.
I actually only remembered it was nearly time for NaNoWriMo to begin last week. October has passed in an absolute blur – we finally completed on buying our new house, and I also said, in a fit of lunacy, that I’d host a Halloween party for the village children, so I had all that to organise as well. And then last night was the obligatory trick-or-treat walk around the village with the Tiny Terror. So, no word of a lie, today I am exhausted.
BUT – I decided that I WILL take part in NaNoWriMo still. Would I like November off just to sleep and eat sweets? Yes. But unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen. I’m already feeling the pressure – I thought my novel notes etc were in pretty good shape, so I could just open my working doc on my lunchbreak and BAM! Hash out 1000 words. Turns out that the last time I opened my detailed synopsis in September, I helpfully added in some extra notes that will entirely change the beginning of my novel…for the third time.
I don’t want to plunge in and start writing my first draft – I did this several (many!) NaNoWriMos ago, and although I still have what I wrote way back then and I know I want to include it in the final version, I don’t think I’m fundamentally a ‘pantser’. I’d like to get my detailed synopsis DONE, as I’ve been working on it for months now, and from there, start the proper draft. Otherwise before I know it, another seven years will have passed, and this goddamn fantasy novel still won’t be done (yes, I originally had this idea back in 2016. Yes, I’m also terrified at how fast time is going).
Of course, me being me, I’ve already started to worry that I’m not doing this ‘the right way’. NaNoWriMo is supposed to be for actual writing, right? Not planning? But here’s the thing – I can either mess up the process I’ve been working on for months and just write again and sort it all out later, or I can continue with my synopsis and then begin writing when I’m ready. I’m still unsure which route to take – but I know one thing, I don’t want to be paralysed by indecision or anxiety. I’ll make a proper decision within the next few days and go from there – any writing, whether that’s my synopsis or my story, will be better than no writing at all.
Which leads me onto my other dilemma – do I try to stick to the 50,000 word count, or (knowing I have a new house to move into, as well as a family and a dog) do I set my own writing goals? Currently, I try to write 100 words a day, which isn’t a lot, but it’s enough to a) fit into my schedule and b) helps me feel like I’m slowly making progress. I think I’d like to aim for something slightly more ambitious than 100 words a day throughout November, but in honesty, I think I’ll struggle with 1,667. But like I said, any writing is better than no writing at all.
Good luck to everyone else out there who’s also participating this year! Many your words be many, but your coffee be more.