Friday, 5 November 2010

National Novel Writing Month - Day Five

Join the madness!
When I first heard of NaNoWriMo - six years ago now - I thought it was one of those 'new fangled fads' that my Nan always swore computers would be.  Little could I imagine that six years later I'd have two WINNER certificates and the NaNo Mad/Fadness would be triplicated by a gazillion (maths not my strong point.  I'm more wordy, me) and that most of the world's writing population now sign up to this annual word-fest.  Oh, and I'd still be doing it.
Every year I adopt the Ostrich position and pretend it isn't there.  If I don't open up any e-mails from the Office of Letters and Light (That's the NaNoWriMo People's HQ) then they might go away.   They might even go away so much they cease to exist.  But they don't.  I can't even delete the e-mails because of the 'pull'.  And when I find (pffft!) five minutes to have a quick read, I remember how exhilarating it all is, and how exciting it will all be and what a fabulous way to unite writers the world over the whole thing is, and how much Twitter will be over-capacity (or under, depending on how well the word-count's going I guess) for the month of November.
And by August at the latest, I'm hooked, lined, sunk and signed up for a  repeat performance. Again.

This is one deadline that can't be postponed.  It doesn't matter how many Open Evenings our school has in November (one, but even so - it IS hairy and stressy, which is also how I LOOK every November... actually make that most days...) and it doesn't matter how many daughter's birthdays fall within the same month (again, just the one, but ... come ON... children's parties are bad enough as it is, especially with them turning.... okay, okay then, seventeen this year, but they still need a cake, right? And presents and stuff?) there is just NO escaping the fact that if you don't get your 1,666 words done one day, there will be a catch-up of *consults calculator.  No, really*  3332 words to do the following day.  And once you've done it a couple of times that week, the easiest thing in the world  is to just give up.  Stop. Become the Ostrich again and pretend it didn't matter in the first place, nobody will notice if you suddenly go all quiet and your word count isn't moving; it's just another 'thing' you didn't do.

It made me feel positively sick with self-pity.    Like the tortoise watching the hare flying off whilst I lolled about under a tree pretending I was going to be a spectator all along.  Letting down the only person that mattered in my race.  Me.

Which is actually what happened my first couple of years.  I think I made it to the 5,000 mark on years one and two.  Year three I got as far as 12,000 and I still like to read it back, and still try to convince myself I might even get round to finishing it one day.  And years four and five (2008 and last year) I got my WINNER certificate.  Very proud.  In fact the feeling I got when I managed to hit the 50,000 mark was actually unexpected.  I don't really *do*excited dances around the room (unless I'm very drunk and Gloria Gaynor is helping me Survive) but last year I could have drowned in tears of my own self-congratulations.  And I don't care how many know about it.  It might also have helped save my sanity because last year, on the 6th November I was involved in a head-on car collision and I still don't know what I'd've done without my NaNo novel to 'switch off' to, keep up with and take my mind off of mangled wreckages and cut and bruised body parts.  TMI?
So I kind of see NaNoWriMo now as a sort of salvation.  It has become my friend.  The one, true friend who allows my creative ideas to flow, unfettered, uncorrected (although I'm still too anally retentive NOT to edit as I go along... sheesh) and unconditionally.  Well, with maybe the one, little condition, that I get to FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS in 30 days!
Seriously, if a lazy-arse like me can do it, then anybody can!
...

p.s. It doesn't even matter that it's the 5th of November and you haven't given it a thought and there's all manner of fireworks to be letting off and "oooooh-ing" over tonight, just shift some grey matter, clip those fingernails and fill up two sheets of A4.  Your creative sinuses will thank you for it... and don't sweat it too much - think of it as warming up for next year!

6 comments:

Roderic Vincent said...

Good luck with it Debs. I'm amazed you found time to write this post. I'd be tempted to deduct that from the 50,000.

Ellie said...

I'm so with you on this one! LOL. I managed to stay on target the first three days and now I'm slowly falling behind.

Good luck with your 50,000 this yeear x

Helen Black said...

I tried it last year and must say I enjoyed it...didn't finish though. 9 was going great guns and then got asked to write another series book, so I put the Nano book aside.
HB x

Caroline Green said...

Big respect, Debs to you and everyone who does it. I have this terror that I would sit and open my mind and....my mind wouldn;t have any words in it.
Good luck! And I agree with Rod, can't this count?

Patsy said...

Keep going - we're going to get there!

Paul said...

Okay, I'm on record as having a low regard for NaNoWriMo, but this article talks about famous and even classic works that were knocked out in a few weeks each:

The Independent