After twenty one days of writing, of hammering out words at a keyboard, do we really need to talk about the mere number of words? So what have I learned this week in NaNoWriMo? Well, I’ve been in the situation this week where I’m actually less worried about my word count, and more about the story progression.
For one, writing every day is not always that good for your story, or for you. Especially if you work, and probably even if you don’t, sometimes you need to let the story sit in the corner for a while. A couple of times this week I went to the trusty (but not really amazing) Mac keyboard, and started to type, and it wasn’t that I had writer’s block – I knew where I wanted to go – but there was this kind of fatigue about the actual act of writing.
I’m concerned that in my story whilst I’m moving the plot along, it doesn’t feel fleshed out, and more and more I’m leaving bookmarks with comments to say ‘insert scene here about so-and-so’. I probably have a few thousand words of snippets in my character profiles to add in. So the take away from this week has been that you need to take days off from the writing itself, even if you can’t get the story out of your thoughts – just write the ideas down, dictate them into your phone or whatever system works for you, and type them type them up later.
I’m taking this as a good sign – more bits to add in a second draft. In that light one thing I always knew, but at this seeming crunch phase I need to remember, is that NaNoWriMo is about turning out 50,000 words, not a truly finished novel. It’s a first draft, not something you stand outside of publisher’s offices with, pimping it to important looking people as they look to leave for the weekend.
My writing locations are still essentially split between the Mac Mini at my desk in the computer cupboard, and my old Macbook, where the latter is usually on the dining table. At night I kind of like the emptiness of the living room.
I did try a nearby family restaurant, with it’s 180yen drink bar, and that worked, but after a couple of hours, I had to get out, so as to not hear any more Rocky soundtrack, and so I didn’t have to listen to old ladies saying why Italian women weren’t as good at cooking as Japanese women (no, really).
So now I ease into the last week – and for me NaNoWriMo finishes on the 28th, as I will be on a business trip after that, so I have quite a few words to go, but so far, I’m hoping, still, to join the ranks of the ~18% of people who finish each year, and at my first attempt. Will I be doing it next year? No, I think I’ll give Movember a chance!
However, if you must know I am for once, ahead of the game today – 36,050 words against the par of 35,000!
Oh yes, and I still don’t have a title.