An update on the way to 50,000…

So it’s 13 days into National Novel Writing Month. I’m at 24,307 words after 13 days writing every day. And the verdict is: still really enjoying it!

The pep talk from the NaNoWriMo organisers comes today to say this is the point where loads of people stop because they don’t want to finish/ don’t have the guts to finish/ just think they’ve written a load of drivel. Well I have definitely written a load of drivel. And I don’t really have any idea what to do next, or how to finish it. But you’ve got to go on! I definitely understand why they recommend you tell as many people as possible that you’re doing it. I cannot look people in the eye if I fail. And loads of people have been really encouraging so thanks to everyone who has said helpful things – I’ll need you more than ever in the next 2 weeks…

So how has it been this week? Well I’ve been REALLY busy at work – Tuesday I got up at 5am for a day long conference in London, Wednesday I went on all day training about how to calculate Social Return on Investment, Thursday and Monday in the office although Thursday night I was at a Young People’s film premiere followed by a theatre trip and yesterday I went back to London for a whole day’s training on Microsoft Project. Brain fag and general exhaustion. But, the train journeys were brilliant for the word count. There’s not much to do except plug in the ipod and tap away.

It’s still coming easily. The words are just flowing out and I’ve gone back these last couple of days to add the scenes that I was too scared to write the first time round. This isn’t a redraft you understand, it’s just extra scenes I always wanted to put in. I hadn’t really understood why I was managing the numbers without that much trouble but I think I’ve got it now.

I’ve had inspiration in the strangest places, sitting in the conferences and on the trains ideas have come. Some of them are pretty cliched to tell you the truth, but all that can be revised in the next drafts. And I think that is the secret – it’s somehow the knowledge that the content doesn’t matter, that it can be changed, is the key to opening the flow. When I’ve written before, short stories mainly, they are slow and don’t come easily. So perhaps I should look at doing this in the future as a way of unlocking the ideas and the words.

So. First up, some bloody mindedness to carry on. And then bring on the redraft!

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One Response to An update on the way to 50,000…

  1. Nicholas Blake says:

    There’s nothing scarier than a blank page… I’m fully in the belief that writing comes in the re-writing, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction. You can’t see what you’re going to create until you’ve already created something… It’s all about sculpting, isn’t it. Half the time you’re not entirely sure what the end result is going to be, so there’s little point in pretending that the first words you scrawl on the page are going to be the final ones. Once you get over that – as you point out here – the pressure is off and there’s such freedom in the knowledge that stuff CAN be changed, WILL be changed, and – often – SHOULD be changed.

    Though I also understand that changing stuff is kinda against the ethos of the “speed writing” challenge you’re undertaking. But then isn’t the whole concept behind what you’re doing is basically to encourage you to just get writing anyway and not to worry about the quality…at the moment. So in that respect surely this is a brilliant experience for you! There’s nothing worse than people like me who think they probably could write but never really try.

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