This cover image is popping up everywhere. Social media is abuzz with excitement, fear, confidence, empathy, anxiety and all other emotions in between. First timers are wondering if they can rattle of 50 000 words in a month, something not many of them have ever considered let alone attempted, even on their own. Old timers are either swimming in a sea of doubt from failing the previous year(s) and either anticipate another “failure” or hope to push past their “failings” and win NaNo. Other’s who have been successful can’t wait to add another novel/draft to their collection of successes – perhaps even rebelling by completing previous works or rewriting them. Others are watching on with mild interest and zero participation. Regardless of which category you fall in, or whether you don’t fall into any of these, you cannot deny that NaNoWriMo is a palpable presence among the online writing community. For the next month, a large number of writers will be ink deep in their writing, and this worldwide phenomenon is amazing on almost every level.
NaNo and I
This is my fourth year doing NaNo. My first two novels were a bust and re-reading what I wrote fills me with both disgust and fatigue. Strong words I know, but perhaps one day I’ll have the nerve to go back and explore those failed ideas again. The concepts were great but execution was terrible. Last year’s novel, my Historical Fantasy based on an African tribe of mages was so much fun to write, well planned and was definitely the easiest 50K I’ve written. I finished on day 22 and spent the next 8 days faffing about, and also encouraging others to push towards their 50K. Sadly I haven’t touched that novel since the 23 November 2015, a day after I got to 50k. I guess the next step once I’ve learned to complete novels, is to get into editing. *sighs*
This year I feel less ready but still quite psyched. I’ve learnt that planning takes you further than pantsing can. With discovery writing/pantsing, you are more likely to hit a wall, losing morale as you realise you have no idea how to climb over it, or if you even want to climb over it. Planning sees that wall, creates ways to progress past it, and all the while you’re gaining morale and momentum because you know where you’re going; planning allows you to enjoy the journey and blissfully anticipate the end.
What I wish I could do for NaNo
There are a few things I wish I could do for NaNo. Maybe one day I’ll employ them but here’s my list:
There are a number of things one can live stream. A write-in so others can see what happens during one, and let them (viewers) feel included in the process. We have word sprints, competitions, fancy hat days and other fun activities while getting that word count running. I could live stream myself writing so you can watch my writing process, get a glimpse of the actual writing (and have an exclusive look at the first draft). I could live stream a planning session, or some other writing exercise you can join in. I already have a YouTube and Twitch.tv account so it’s not impossible. Maybe one day.
Write 50k in one day
I once wrote 4000 words in about two hours. If I wrote from midnight to midnight, I could probably pull this off. Although I would have to be locked in a well ventilated room, with no disruptions whatsoever, while taking a coffee-redbull mixture intravenously, and having prepared ablution solutions well before hand. A bit extreme, probably kill me, but I’ll have a novel and that’s all that counts.
Host a Travelling Write-In Road Trip
I like people. I like being around people, especially like minded people. I like meeting new people too. I also happen to like travelling. Sometimes people live too far out to be part of a write-in, or don’t have the means. So myself and a select few will jump into a nice caravan and host write-ins along the week, with a big one on the weekend. Then we get to meet new writers, we get to travel, and we get to write. That would be amazing.
Write by the beach
I haven’t been to Cape Town or Durban as an adult. It would be amazing to drive up to one of these fine places, find a nice beach house, and spend all of November writing and taking customary long walks on the beach. Waking up to sunrises and drinking mojitos to sunsets. Ahhh.
With a couple of days left until NaNo, and most of us gearing up towards it, what are your plans between now and the 1 of November? Is there any thing you’ve always want to do during NaNo, I’d love to hear/read it.