Reflections of NaNoWriMo 2017

Writing for Fun

To put this in perspective I’ve been writing short stories for years. When I say short I mean up to 5000 words and mostly for use in my classroom. The joy of that time was I never ever thought about the story arc or the tense, or the POV I was busy writing a story that I thought would entertain the children who would work with it. I loved making up those stories. I enjoyed the children’s reactions and the way they added on to the backstory or invented new adventures for lost aliens or naughty teddies or lost aliens who rescued the naughty teddy and returned them to Santa so they could find there forever home it was fun. All around fun, fun to write, fun to read and fun to make a mess of.

Writing for Me

A couple of years ago I realised that I had reached the age where I could suit myself and that if I didn’t it wasn’t going to happen. That impetus is a whole other blog but the important outcome was I began to think about the stories I wanted to read and basically, I have three go-to genre’s romance, sci-fi and mystery and yes that is in order of preference and oh I want to laugh too. I decided that I wanted to write stories that I enjoy older women (well I am one), romance and the everyday weird of life. I’d had six characters kicking around in my head and long story short I basically wrote the first two books of the ‘Walk’ trilogy one after the other from my head to the screen. Job done just needed to be edited BUT (yes that’s a big but) the third book I had planned and…stalled. Now I wasn’t writing for anyone.

Writing Wall

I didn’t have writing block, I don’t believe in it but I ran head first into a writing wall. A wall that I built myself. I spent a lot of time reading about writing, listening to podcasts about self-publishing, I even signed up for a masterclass course on writing. My brain went into meltdown it was great I loved learning all this stuff. I was having fun and I felt like I was improving myself and my understanding of writing only…I wasn’t writing. I was reading about writing. Now imagine the sound of a large bowl of raspberry jelly hitting the floor from a height and that is the sound my hand hitting my face made when I realised I’d stalled.

Preptober

I can’t tell you where I first heard about NaNoWriMo probably on ‘The Lesbian Talk Show Podcast’ but I heard about it at the end of September and because that’s when my birthday is and I generally do some naval starring in an attempt to tease out the fluff of my life and clean out anything that is unhealthy. (end of bizarre metaphor). I decided that instead of just writing from head to keyboard that I’d plan the third book, I’d use Scrivener (another head slap and another blog) and then I’d have a go at actually writing the first draft during November. I Planned my socks off. My story arc’s suck and my POV bobs around but I knew what I was going to write.

NaNoWriMo

I did it. Yep, I wrote 50058 words by November 28th, 2017. Then I stopped.

The story didn’t.

On that Tuesday I succeeded and failed at the same time. I met the target of NaNoWriMo and I was exhausted. I had consistently risen at 5am most mornings faffed around for at least two hours before guiltily sitting down for half an hour every morning opening my laptop and writing my ‘Stray Scene Sentence’  which basically was Cyn is going to notice Jennifers painted toenails and then end up in a bird hide recording an alien invasion –  the dog shows up. It doesn’t have to make sense to you because it did to me. I’d come home from work stuff my face with a burger, toss my clothes in the washing machine and slip into something more comfortable then type. I sat down and on some days I’d write over three thousand words on one weekend I wrote twelve thousand words!!!

I was and still am exhausted.

Writing for Fun

My constant desire is to write for fun. Now that I’ve opened up this can of imaginary story worms I want them to make the best possible compost they can. It’s December 2nd and I haven’t looked at what I wrote for four days which feels like forever considering I have worked on it every day for a month. Now it’s beginning to burn a hole in the back of my head. I can feel characters that are restless to finish their story off and I need closure. I need this first draft finished so I can go back and polish the whole trilogy.

So NaNoWriMo 2017 was it worth it. Yes! Yes! Yes! I have a workable first draft another 15000 words and the story will be complete and an editor can help whip it into shape eventually.  Fifty thousand words, fast food and lack of sleep all worth it for nothing more than a pdf certificate and a sense of achievement.

Writing in November doesn’t get any better than this.

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-Cover

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