I’m writing this at 22:05 on October 31st. I’m waiting for midnight to make a token start on my NaNo project. Not much. Maybe 500 words. I’ve never done the ‘stay up til midnight’ thing before – usually because Hallowe’en is spent having a party round my mothers. By my mother has moved away to West Sussex, and the Fiance is on a night shift, so I’m here on my own and without a reason to get up early tomorrow morning.
I have attempted NaNo four times, won three, though I only have two recorded. I write under a pseudonym, and have two profiles for NaNo. I forgot I’d already made one under one name, and made one under the other the following year. Because I’m smart that way.
The first year I tried was way back when I was in university. I failed spectacularly. I didn’t try again until three years ago, when I used it as motivation to finish a number of different writing projects. It wasn’t really a ‘proper’ NaNo in the sense of having a blank page and seeing it through to ‘the end’ but I got the 50,000 words done, so that’s a win in my book. The next year, I was in a real writing slump. I didn’t think I stood a chance of winning, but I had this plot idea that I really liked, and I really really wanted to give myself a kick up the backside to get back in to writing. I did a proper NaNo and started with the first line, ending with ‘the end’ 30 days later. The novel’s a mess, but I might be able to salvage something from it one day. More importantly, it turned on that part of my brain again.
Last year, I used NaNo to help me complete a project. I’d been picking away at it for a few weeks before, with a view to getting to 30,000 words so that I could top it up to 80,000 words with NaNo. Then it would be a whole novel. It never really worked like that. I wrote 50,000 words in the month (again, this is all I personally require to count it as a win) but the words were all over the place. There were gaps in the narrative, huge chunks I wrote out that I knew would be cut, relegated to ‘back story I need to know, but doesn’t need to be spelled out’. The novel was a project I loved, but writing it told me there were holes in the plot, things I hadn’t thought through.
This year, I’ve been busy for the past 10 weeks or so writing 90,000 words to finish of a series of novellas I’ve been tinkering away with for years. I finished that two days ago (the 29th) and spent yesterday doing nothing but playing mahjong and letting my brain recuperate. Today, on the eve of NaNo, I sat down and wrote ten pages of notes. Handwritten, A4 pages of notes. This is all the preparation I’ve done.
Which is making me a little nervous. The year I had nothing but a plot idea was liberating in a way – I was so sure I couldn’t do it, every word I wrote was one more than I would have otherwise, and the more I wrote, the more motivated I became. There was no 30k lag that year, because every milestone I passed was a miracle.
It won’t be like that this year, because I’m fresh of the back of writing that 90k. I’m sure I can do the 50k, but whether I will or not is the question. I so don’t want to fail. I know that any words done is a success, but I don’t want to have to record on my profile that I didn’t make it.
Because I know I can. I’ve done it before under worse circumstances.
I’ve got my TweetDeck set up with a #NaNoWriMo2015 column. I have at least one cheerleader on Twitter, and will doubtless pick up more along the way. I have a bottle of fruity cider and my pages of notes beside me.
I’m feeling very uncertain and worried that it won’t be like the previous years. That the words won’t flow and I’ll get behind. That I’ll write the first few lines and my ideas will just dry up.
But I’ve told you lot now. I’m accountable. So I’ll just have to give it my best shot 🙂
P.S. If any of you are doing NaNo and want to buddy up, tweet me your profile! @libertyfallsdwn