Well, since I agonised about it here, I guess I’d better update here as well!
On balance, I’m rather enjoying NaNoWriMo so far.
The word count is actually a bit more of a challenge than I’d anticipated. I can write 1000 words of stream of consciousness without blinking. I can write a few hundred words of chatty opinion on just about anything I can think of (as evidenced by this blog) and if given a writing prompt I can almost always hack out something (although, saying that, my online writing group piece is sadly lingering, half-done, this week).
However, trying to get a coherent longer piece of work up and going was tough. For the first three days, I slogged through the word count, trying to figure out everything I had to set up.
Before starting, I had 3 cartoonishly simple ideas for main characters, some locations (nice easy places I already know), and the vaguest, vaguest idea of what will happen in the first half of the story. It is from the most formulaic end of romantic fiction, because I reckoned I could think up a storyline for that when I wouldn’t manage anything more complicated or meaningful. Also, it’s fun to write lurve scenes. It really is. It just means I can never, never show them to anyone.
So for the first three days, I did almost exactly 1667 words per day. I plugged away at introducing most of the main characters (Man #2 doesn’t happen till later. There have to be two men of course. I said this to my friend and she said “What, one’s blond and one’s dark and they all work in a hospital?” It’s pretty much at that level.) I got very bored that my leads would barely get round to talking to each other. When would they get round to snogging already?
On day 4 it started picking up and I went significantly over the daily word requirement for the first time. I missed a day on Saturday though – in-laws arrived a couple of hours early. I started thinking I should try to bank some words for days that just don’t work out.
It’s definitely flowing better now. I still find it really tough to think of plot and write at the same time. It bothers me occasionally that what I’m writing is so terrible and cliched (although then I have to give myself a pep talk about first drafts). As I expected, I find it tougher to draft on the screen than I do on paper (I did a couple of pages on paper on the train the other day and it was joyous) but it definitely saves time overall. And making myself write on Mr Woodsmoke’s computer both gives me a nice distraction-free environment and saves my back.
I’d say at the moment, the best thing is starting to contemplate other possible large-ish creative projects. If that draft of 16,000 words didn’t actually take all that long, maybe it can be done again with something less shit? I can’t say I’m going to write a real novel or anything, but nice to feel that I’ve expanded what I thought of as practical.