I’m currently participating in NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who’ve been living in the cupboard under the stairs (this blog operates a wizard and bogie man friendly, FYI), stand for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to writer 50,000 words in 30 days, which averages out at 1667 words a day, if you’re keeping up. Of course I, like most participants at this point, have fallen behind. I am currently 5000 words in arrears, and should probably be working to fix that right now. But instead, I thought I’d share some unusual reasons for joining in, even at this late stage.
1. Insomnia – I find it’s a brilliant cure. Keeping your brain going for almost two thousand words a day really pushes it to the limits, and I’m usually flagging by 10/11 o’clock at night. The moment my head hits the pillow I’m gone, and with my upcoming interviews I have never been so grateful for a good nights sleep.
2. Character Company – I’m aware that this may not be how all writers work, but whenever I’m committed to a story I find the main character will start to follow me around, chipping in comments wherever I go. NaNo is certainly a commitment, and my lead hero is one hell of a charmer (as played by Rupert Graves). Not only is this method a great way to practice dialogue, but if you pick the right character, you’ve got yourself a walking talking stress buster.
3. Locking Yourself Away – I know this doesn’t sound like a great habit to have, but if you’re a writer it’s pretty much essential. I recently moved into a flat with a friend, and we spend a lot of our time sitting in the living room together. Before NaNo this meant that if he was at home, I never got anything done, so I’d have to wait for him to go to work, and pray he didn’t come back before I was finished. Now, having committed myself to completing 50,000 words this month, I’ve learnt to lock myself away, physically or mentally, until my daily word count is done. When NaNo is finished, I may take to Graham Greene’s method of writing a perfect 500 words a day, to keep up the habit.
4. Write Trash – Honestly, I can’t imagine writing a quality work of literature for NaNoWriMo would be a particularly pleasant experience. NaNo is great, because it gives you a ready made excuse to write that story that you didn’t want to waste years on. Whether it’s an experiment to see if you like writing crime fiction, a fanfiction with a crack pairing you think no-one else will be interested in, or the ever classic Mills and Boon novel, you can crack it out in 30 days, and be done with it. Never to touch it again, if you so wish.
5. Writer’s Block – Finally, before starting NaNoWriMo, I went to a lecture on the pros and cons. Honestly, the speaker was not at all inspiring, and when I told her I had writer’s block, she promptly exclaimed, “Oh, I never get that! But can I give you some advice?” (Raised eyebrows all round.) The advice she offered was to “just write”, which is not at all helpful when you’re midway through a project and you’ve trapped yourself. No. More appropriate advice would be; write something different, and write a lot of it in a short space of time. Because my novel for NaNoWriMo is a trashy romance, I don’t have to worry about characterization or plot, I can just hammer out a chapter without thinking. And it’s working; I can now see the issues I was having with my other novel, and I’m confident when I go back to it I’ll be able to push through them. I’ve gone from writing 500 words a week, to close to 2000 a day.
Yes, Rupert, and it’s fantastic!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short burst of procrastination, and that you’ll consider joining me in this marathon. You can sign-up at NaNoWriMo.org, or simply play along at home.
On another note, just a reminder that my 100 follower giveaway will be running until December 4th. Click HERE for more information.