Thursday, November 2, 2017

On writing NaNo with a group

I'm off and away on my NaNoWriMo journey - Concept of Self, my verse novel in progress, is a sequel to my 2015 NaNo novel, Theory of Mind, and so far, at 3640 words on day 2, it's tumbling along quite well.

This is the fifth time I'm attempting NaNo. I tried, and failed badly, in 2008 - my kids were just too young and I too pregnant and too tired. I tried again in 2010 and won with a middle-grade detective novel, to which I wrote a sequel the following year, 2011, and also won that year.

For various reasons, I wasn't free to give it a go in 2012-14, but I got back on the horse in 2015 and produced my favourite long-form piece I've ever written - Theory of Mind, my first verse novel. I re-read it recently and while it is an obviously unpolished piece of work, I still kind of like it. I enjoyed writing it immensely; it was one of the gifts I gave myself for coming out of a not-right-for-me work environment and being brave enough to strike out on my own in business.

I skipped NaNo last year, due to being busy with work, but I moped around all month pining for it; so, despite being even busier this year than last, here I am, doing the thing.

The most important difference, for me, this year from previous years is that I am in two Facebook groups of people I online-know (so not generic for-NaNo-only groups) to offer mutual support, cheerleading, and commiserations in the rougher moments. (Not that we've got to many yet but I am seasoned enough at this gig to know THEY ARE MOST CERTAINLY COMING).

These are all people I've spent enough time with, online or in some cases IRL, to feel really comfortable with. These are people whose own creativity enhances mine in sometimes unexpected ways.

And you know, it's really nice, to be able to post your word count to people who get what it means and validate you for it. It's really nice to high-five each other at plot breakthrough moments. It's really, REALLY nice to post daily snippets and have people say what they like about it (NaNo is not a time for critique - editing, which must certainly come, comes later).

Will it help to motivate me? Yes and no - my motivation is more intrinsic than extrinsic with writing, and I have, after all, smashed the word target three times before on my own. But will it help make this journey richer, more engaging, and just more fun? Undoubtedly. It already is.

I'm going to be stepping it up over the next four days, trying to get at least 3,000 ahead of the target before Tuesday (to account for activities on Tuesday and Wednesday that make it unlikely I'll get much or any words down on those days). I feel like my groups will have my back in helping to jolly me along to extra output, and that's a good way to feel, here at the start of what is always an exhausting but exhilarating race.

(This is post #2 in NaBloPoMo. 2 down, 28 to go!)

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