Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo: the writing dilemma

I haven't done Writing Wednesday for a long time for a simple reason: I haven't been doing much writing. It turns out that our summer (if I can be so bold as to call it that) sapped my mojo and it has been a struggle to kick it back into action. I can tell how drained I became as I was barely reading and that, I have to tell you, is practically a life crisis! I can't remember a time when I didn't love to lose myself in a book.

Yet I long to write. When we were canal boating back in May I spent hours at the tiller, chugging along the beautiful waterways, planning stories and phrases, plotting the outline to a chapter or coming up with the perfect description of the scenery I passed. As soon as I stopped: bam! It is gone! There may be some lessons to learn from this.

1  Always make notes as you think of ideas.
2  The pace of canal life is great for writing motivation.
3  Dry land is not so good.

Of course, the main factor is time. Work went a little crazy for a couple of months and my children are always a drain on resources. That is nothing compared to many writers, who scribble away at their masterpieces from the most time-pressured, child-infested lives possible. Perhaps I needed even more pressure in order to get going.

And so, I note that NaNoWriMo approaches. For those of you who are unaware of this phenomenon it is short for National Novel Writing Month - the month being November. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Now, I'll not go into the argument that 50,000 words does not constitute a novel, nor into the pros and cons of writing so intensively expecting publication by the end of December. No - instead I'll focus on the merits of getting into a writing habit. Or, in my case, back into it.

The challenge equates to 1,667 words per day (that allows me to stop at 1,657 on the last day - the mathematician within me insists on calculating, and saving, those extra 10 words). If I aimed for 2,000 every day that I could allow me 5 days off. Even if I achieved 1,000 per day I could be writing enough words to top up one of my partly written memoirs practically to book length. Then I could spend a happy Christmas editing (ahem!)

Can I do this to myself? More importantly, can I afford not to do this to myself? The challenge is out there. Perhaps I should just give it a whirl and see where I get.

Or else I should buy a narrowboat and become a hermit.

What do you think?


The bike shed said...

You could always do NABLOPOMO - a post a day for November.

The challenge is less in the number of words and more in keeping the ideas fresh.

I'm (sort of) trying but not quite committing, whilst also promoting the new book.

Catharine Withenay said...

Mark, I had thought of doing this but felt that my challenge really ought to be to write my book(s). Simply getting back into the writing habit is enough. I've loved following your NaBloPoMo in previous years so do feel encouraged to keep it up!
Hope the book sales are going well - it looks great!

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