I’m half a week into my first NaNoWriMo and I’ve already learned a couple of things:
1. I can get more done in a day than I thought I could. Especially a working day, oddly, as I have to make that extra effort.
2. Writing without time to deliberate is very liberating. You can’t agonise over whether that sentence or subplot is a good idea because there’s a word count to meet, so in it goes.
3. I don’t like writing without editing. I have this sense of leaving a trail of poor description and hackneyed cliches, and it revolts me.
4. It doesn’t matter how fast you write – there’s always time to discover things. I thought I’d planned the hell out of this story. At the beginning of chapter 4, however, I’ve just come across a major new character I never suspected existed.
5. Doing this kind of speedwriting is a good way of testing an idea to destruction. What you have at the end will resemble the eventual book in the same way that a chestnut resembles a tree, but you’ll have a much clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t. I am doing something slightly ambitious with two protagonists. I now suspect that the book I end up with will only have one.
6. The community is an incredibly friendly bunch. There’s parties and write-ins all the time and you don’t need to know anyone to be welcomed, chatted to and generally made to feel a part of it. I had an hour-long conversation with a complete stranger about how the heroic journey, terrorism plots and the ramifications of superpowers. It was awesome.
So there you have it. I’m thoroughly enjoying the pressure to write, in a way I never thought I would, which is a very encouraging sign. If you’re also taking part, do buddy up with me on the NaNo website – as usual, I can be found under ‘everwalker’. See you on the other side!