Wednesday, 1 May 2013

NaNoWriMo: Mission Complete

Some of you might remember this post on the 1st of April where I talked about my challenge to complete Camp NaNoWriMo. To summarise, camp NaNoWriMo is a version of National Novel Writing Month which is held every november. The two events are almost exactly same, except that the camp is in april as a 'writers retreat' for serious NaNoWriMo fans who get withdrawal symptoms at the 'six months on' mark. During NaNoWriMo participants challenge themselves to do a 50,000 word piece of creative writing. I wasn't sure if I was going to complete this challenge, and at times balancing life and school with my crazed typing was a game of logistics, but I am proud to say that yesterday I finished my final words! I'm not going to talk about my story much because it is a 'draft zero' at the moment and the plot will probably change entirely with redrafting. It is a young adult fiction with dystopian themes and a splash of scifi... I think.

The challenge was tough and in the early days- or weeks- I was convinced that my protagonist was dull and, frankly, a waste of text. This was very discouraging and made it difficult to write but eventually I resuscitated the poor thing enough to make him a worthwhile character. I also developed several psychosomatic illnesses which (for an unbeknown reason) prevented me from writing now and again. At that point I knew it was time to boil the kettle and get on with it. Failure was not an option because of all the people I had foolishly told about my mission at the start of the month, and I hate admitting that I haven't done something to the best of my ability. 1,667 words a day is completely possible but things get in the way... in my case procrastination and blatant laziness.  One thing that really helped me through this was getting out of the house to write, particularly a sunny day at a stately home armed with my iPad and keyboard. Not only did it make me feel like I am doing the whole writing thing 'properly' but it also made my plot flow with inspiration from the beautiful grounds and fresh air.

I have really enjoyed the challenge and it has prised me away from Facebook and Twitter for a while which I think can only be a good thing. It is an achievement of determination if not anything else, and though I know I don't poses a masterpiece I know I have something. Someone once said that "Writer's write", these are wise words because turning ideas into text can really be the hardest part. It is surprising how just hammering out words can be therapeutic and eventually you might even string a few vowels and constants together to form an OK word, sentence, paragraph and so on until you have a book! I don't know where I will stand in november but this very positive experience has inspired me to maybe take up the challenge again for the original NaNoWriMo event.

Would any of you consider doing NaNoWriMo?
What is the hardest part of writing regularly for you?

A picture of Imi writing in the sun on an iPad with a headphone in her ear.