National Novel Writing Month

One Week Down

Last time I posted, I mused about possibly doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for those who like the shorthand) and how I’d likely not get round to doing it because I never have before.

Well, miracle of miracles, I am actually doing it this year, and currently bang on track to complete the 50k word count by the end of November. The story I’m writing is far from amazing, I already know that it’s very unstructured and quite repetitive at the moment, so it won’t be winning any awards in its current form. But, the point is that I’m doing it. Somewhat out of the blue, I might add.

There had been a general discussion within my writer’s group that some of us might sign up, but no formal plans or commitments made. And even when I was talking about it with the group, in the back of my mind, I was thinking ‘I’ll never go through with it, I never do’.o

Yet, on 1st November 2019, I signed up via the official website, and write my first 1667 words (that’s the daily target to meet 50,000 words by the end of November). And from then on, I have been making a concerted effort to find time to write. I’ve written in the morning, and late at night; both are times of the day I’ve always told myself don’t work for me, and still, here I am having actually written over 11,000 so far. Like I say, the story is very undeveloped and the writing isn’t my finest (though I am pleased with how some of it’s come out), but there are words on a page, and more importantly, time is being carved out to write them.

I’m not even that bothered about the 50,000 words at the end, although I quite like the 1667 daily word target, so odds are I will reach 50k. For me, the purpose of this little experiment isn’t to finish with a manuscript that I’ll necessarily move forward with. It’s more to prove to myself that I can do it.

And what I’m enjoying most, so far, is that this ‘can do’ attitude is spreading into areas completely unrelated to writing. I went swimming for the first time in ages – something I’ve been telling myself I want to do for months, but never have. I’m trying harder at work. I’m even making more effort to socialise. Again, these are things that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but somehow convinced myself that I couldn’t. I am delighted to be proving myself wrong.

Now, I know myself well enough to recognise that these kinds of successes come in peaks and troughs. With my writing, I may well complete NaNoWriMo and feel very proud of myself. Or I may become derailed by something and not complete it.

But I want this blog post to serve as a reminder to myself, and anyone else out there who can relate to my story, that I should still be proud of myself. Even if I don’t finish, at least I started, and changes were made. Even if they don’t last forever, the changes I’ve set in motion through this project will impact me, my self-esteem and my future in small ways that I might not even realise at the time.

Whatever happens, I can always look back at the first week of November, and remember it as the time that I wrote every day, ended up with 11,000 words on a page, went swimming and got social. And I hope that reminds my future self that even when all seems lost, at some point, I (and you) will just pick myself back up and try again.

What about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it before? What has it taught you about writing, preserverence and life in general? I’d love to know. Comment or contact me and share your story – let’s inspire each other to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

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