My own personal ‘You’re a winner’ badge.
This little thing tells me that I have officially completed the ‘National Novel Writing Month’ goal of hitting 50,000 words in just 30 days! This wonderful little pdf tells me that I can write, and, that I am a writer. It might seem a little pointless because, well you know, I knew I was a writer…right? But actually, that’s not true. I knew I had aspirations to be a writer and that technically, I can write. But I didn’t know what it felt like to actually write as if it was a career. That’s something I learnt a lot about this month.
Right from the first of the month, I knew that I had a target, and a deadline. Then, I made it happen, as if it was a job, making sure I wrote everyday, and if I failed to do that, making sure I made up for whatever time I had lost. The result is that I hit my deadline, and came out of it with a finished story. That’s something else I haven’t done before; actually finished a novel! But now, I know that I can.
Now though, lets face the harsh reality:
What I have written isn’t actually much good. This is because of a few reasons. One, because I didn’t plan it, and I never really had much of an idea what or why I was writing. Two, because it’s all a bit rushed (no surprises there). Three, because I was concentrating more on my word count than the bloody story itself!
So now I’ve revealed these little home truths, let’s talk about NaNoWriMo. I really enjoyed this month. I loved writing mostly everyday and I loved having a deadline. The only problem, as I have said above is that I was defiantly writing to hit the word count rather than to write the story. This is partially okay, and actually the whole reason I took part was to do this. I wanted to use NaNoWriMo as an exercise in writing everyday, in writing a lot without editing, and in actually finishing something. I was never super concerned with what I was writing, knowing that it wasn’t likely to be something I would try to publish or even give out to people to read. I think also though, it’s something about NaNoWriMo that made me so concerned about the volume of words. I wonder if I would still be like that if I was working on something a little more precious?That’s another negative; as I said, I really enjoyed the month, but there were times I didn’t enjoy writing this particular story. Because I had no real plan or aim, there were certainly times where writing became a real chore. There’s another blog post about NaNoWriMo here, in which we are asked how we measure our own success. For me, I feel successful because even though I know that what I’ve written isn’t fantastic, I’m still very proud. I’m proud firstly because I did it – I started and ended it without once planning ahead what was going to happen, and did so within a month. I’m proud of some parts of it because I think they’re genuinely good, well written and witty. I’m proud of other parts because they’re absolutely mad – Because I was writing without a plan, and usually without any idea of what I was writing, I often slipped into a sort of NaNoTrance, where my fingers were writing but my brain wasn’t. Through these NaNoTraces I found myself writing things I never would usually. I was able to sort of brain dump things onto the page and then enjoy reading them back.
Mostly I’m proud because now I know I can write a book, and I know I can write a book that’s damn well better than this one!
For anyone who is thinking about doing NaNoWriMo next year, or for anyone who just fancies trying their hand at writing and think this might be the way to go: Do it. It’s a great month and it really helps knowing that you have goal, deadline and most importantly; other people backing you! It’s enough knowing that 300,000 other people are doing it, but the actual communities are great. I was part of a small facebook group, and it helped an awful lot to feel as though I was part of a group of like-minded people working towards the same goal. There are also, from what I understand, actual flesh and blood meet ups between WriMos, who meet and write together.
But now the question is; where do we go from here? Well, now I guess it’s time to start setting our own deadlines.
My project ‘Sketch’ has taken me about a year and a half of writing haphazardly, now and again, whenever I felt like it. Currently it stands at about 25 thousand words. I just wrote double that in a month. I am now filled with new confidence that I can finish ‘Sketch’ and that I can do so soon. Thus, I am setting myself a goal: I want to finish a first draft of Sketch by New Year. That’s a month to finish another 25/30 thousand words along with all the research that is necessary for this one. It’s a pretty tough goal seeing as how December is a happy, jolly, super-joyful, fun time of year which usually involves a lot of travel and a lot of work. But I do think It’s achievable. Just to add some suspense to the whole thing I have promised that if I fail this, my friend Dom can throw a bucket of paint over me. I will also film and upload this humiliating yet potentially enjoyable experience here, if it comes to it.
And just a final note: November has been a bloody amazing month! I have written a novel, acquired 2 (part-time) jobs, done 2 exciting auditions (results pending) with a 3rd lined up for tomorrow, and performed 2 different shows in different London venues. I was bang on the money when at the beginning of November, I said there were exciting times ahead. November = Excellent.
I hope all your November’s were excellent also, and I’m going to do something I usually try to steer clear of…I’m going to wish you all a fantastic Xmas period! Genuinely, I wish you all the very best of success. Hopefully December will be awesome too.
Now, I shall end the post before my good spirits get the most of me and I start weeping gently onto the keys of my laptop…