I finished Nanowrimo this morning with a count of 50,485 words in 30 days. I like to keep a record of these things, so for the record it took me just over 108 hours, (or about 3.5 hours a day), writing an average of 466 words per hour. Which is actually pretty slow — less than eight words a minute. (Try speaking at a rate of eight words a minute and you’ll see what I mean!) Which leads me to my first conclusion:
Writing mostly consists of not writing.
What it does consist of however is setting your bum on a seat and trying to write. Good intentions don’t cut it. Doing it tomorrow doesn’t cut it. The only way forward is to start today, do a bit tomorrow, a bit more the day after that, and just keep going.
So, conclusion number two:
Writers don’t talk about it. Writers write.
Apart from the simple discipline of getting down 1,667 words a day, I like to make it more interesting. Nanowrimo is just about writing. You can do all the preparation you like beforehand — plot synopsis, character development, timeline, etc. — but you mustn’t start setting down words till 1 November.
I dispense with all that — the preparation, I mean — and just sit down with a blank screen. As I type the first words, I have no idea what’s going to emerge or where the story will go.
Whoa! It’s freaky. And fun. And just a little bit frightening. But it’s the second year I’ve done this and it’s the second year I’ve found a damn good story that just seemed to be “out there”.
Don’t take my word for it. You can check out the first chapter here or download the whole of the first part (around 19,000 words) here. And let me know you think. Seriously. Feedback is helpful and everyone has different tastes.
So, conclusion three:
There are millions of stories out there. To find them,
all you need do is start writing.
I could expound on where I think these stories come from and how this process works, but maybe in another post. For now I’m going back to the Nanowrimo site to play the “winner” video again. It consists of ten people, some wearing Viking helmets … But I won’t spoil it for you in case you’re still writing.