It's nearly here folks, that crazy month that is November! For some blokes it means growing facial hair in support of charity, children hankering for bonfires and fireworks but for us writers, it simply means the crazy 30 day challenge of NaNoWriMo.
Yep, I'm doing it again. But this year I will follow last year's experience 2013 and not the previous year of 2012.
My 2012 experience was my first successful completion year encouraged by my dear buddy Helen Phifer, who has succeeded for numerous years. Anyway, it was the ultimate learning curve for me. Come 00:01 on 1st November 2012 I began to write - all I had was a name! Seriously that was it. I hadn't a plot, I hadn't even thought through a viable idea, I had nothing! The entire 50,213 words simply flowed and took shape as I wrote each day. Some would say this was the true experience of NaNo - the freedom to just write and go wherever the tale takes you. At the time I agreed, as I knew nothing else, so on completion I printed the manuscript and stored in a document folder. This folder sits on a shelf in my writing room and in all honesty, will sit there for evermore. In hindsight, I recognise that I have a 50,213 word document that I simply can't bear to open or peruse. There's a story in there for sure but... and this was my lesson learnt, I know that the effort and time for me to untie that bundle of unplanned knots equates to me metaphorically climbing Mount Everest.
By 2013, I changed tack; I plotted. It was a simple structure and outline for each chapter and character laid upon a time line - but the difference was amazing. I knew where I was heading, whilst retaining the freedom to seize opportunities and ideas as they arose. By the 30th November I had a part manuscript that was a viable draft one and not the knotted mess from 2012. It is this manuscript that has evolved in my third book.
2014 will be a repeat of 2013, for sure! My task for this week is to plot my NaNo onto index cards during my lunchtime slots. A gentle change of routine as my lunchtime slots will become part of my Nano writing routine, along with early get ups and late night sessions.
I've already signed in, donated and updated my profile on the official nanowrimo site. To the left of this blog you can see my word widget is ready and waiting too.
One great thing about this year's Nano is the five weekends in November, it might seem a small thing but if you're a working bod than it makes life a tad easier. I aim for the daily amount of 1667 words but if I fall behind or life throws me non-writing day I catch up at the weekend. Weekends during NaNo equate to a safety net - so use them wisely.
Another hint is to connect with your local regions NaNo events - it's amazing how much writing you can produce at a 'write-in' surrounded by other writers whose fingers are tapping away.
Final word of caution, don't be put off if your writing buddies charge ahead and you are plodding on the daily amount. Everyone has a different writing routine and it can make a huge difference to your mind set. It really doesn't matter how they complete NaNo, it's about how you complete NaNo.
Should you wish to buddy up simply search for my NaNo username: ODW11
To participate or for further details check out nanowrimo.org