NaNoWriMo – Why I’m giving it a go this year

It is all Chuck Wendig‘s fault…..

That may be an exaggeration, but it is certainly why I decided to do it now.

Before I go any further I should say that NaNoWriMo is a project to get people to blitz a single draft of a fictional work in the month of November. That works out at about 1667 words a day. At my current typing speed of 35 wpm that means 48mins of pure typing a day. Of course it is not that easy.

When I was seven years old one of my teachers asked me to write a one page story. It turned out to be a twenty three page epic (I was seven). That was the last person in my education that encouraged me to write anything from my imagination. As soon as I started senior school (year seven or age 11 if you prefer) English lessons were designed purely to get you through a GCSE. Spelling? Grammar? Creative writing? All went down the tube. Trying to replicate a Wilfred Owens poem who you have no idea how crap life is cannot possibly count.

So that was it for me and formal English teaching. It had been turned into a soulless comprehension exercise. Say the expected things and pass. It should be no surprise to learn that very few if any of my peers went on to study English or English Lit beyond the age of sixteen.

I was about the age of fifteen when I started carrying a notebook with me everywhere and writing poetry. Some of it was actually pretty good. After a particularly annoying break-up at age twenty I burned all of my notebooks as a way of purging all the negative emotions I’d expressed in the previous angst filled years. Bloody idiot. It didn’t work, and now I wish I still had them.

Since that point and probably before I have wanted to write a work of fiction. Me and half the bloody world. Like nearly everybody else though I got on with my life and convinced myself that I was too busy and couldn’t possibly find time to do it. The age old lie.

This year I have read a few books that contain advice on writing. This is where Mr Wendig comes in. One line in particular on his blog or one of his books stated something along the lines of  “A writer finishes that which they started”. Sounds simple right? It is. Easy? Not a chance. So I am going to dedicate this month to writing one story of at least 50,000 words badly. Badly? I know you just asked that in your head. Another Wendigism (I made that up) is that the first draft should really be called draft zero as it will be utterly crap. This inspired me and got me thinking. I can do that badly. I guess only time will tell me if after several re-writes it will ever be anywhere near the level where an editor or publisher will not add me to the spam filter on submission. At least then I’ll know, and if nothing else it will give me even more appreciation for those clever buggers that write such awesome books.

So there it is. My cards are on the table. I will now feel a total tit if I don’t at least manage the word count. Oh and I have at least a basic plot outline and a few characters sketched out already. That alone is a new experience for me.



One thought on “NaNoWriMo – Why I’m giving it a go this year

  1. Mr Wendig and I will not get along socially. I disagree that a writer finishes what he starts. I have started several novels I haven’t finished yet and probably never will. Also my first drafts are usually pretty much what gets published.

    Good luck!

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