As we wave goodbye to another November, we also wish adieu to Bonfire Night (a celebration of seeing people hung, drawn and quartered or a chance to channel V for Vendetta, depending on how you look at it), the dregs of Halloween, my birthday (complete with a most civilised tea party) and NaNoWriMo.
As you’ve probably guessed from my radio silence, I was far too busy this year to take part, despite planning to earlier in the year. However, I do also have half a novel staring at me accusingly whenever I switch on my computer or go in my little workroom.
So, in a moment of what can only be described as absolute insanity (if you saw the pile of marking I’ve got to do over Yule, you’d think me bonkers, too), I’ve decided to have a go at my own NotAWriMo.
For anyone who doesn’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and happens every November. It’s not about producing the next Booker Prize Winner, it’s about getting words down (even if that means having your characters discuss the finer points of tea-making because you’re out of ideas). In the space of a month,
lunatics participants all over the world write 50,000 words in order to ‘win’. They’re not after a prestigious prize and nor are they out to ‘beat’ each other: they’re simply working towards being able to say ‘I did it’. And when you consider that’s an average of 1,667 words per day in the lives of many people who work full-time, have children and/or social lives, being able to say ‘I did it’ is no mean feat.
What, then, you might ask, is NotAWriMo. Well, it’s going to be about me ‘getting words down’ after a long hiatus from writing during which I’ve worked full-time (sometimes more than full-time), completed a PGCE, fallen ill and begun my first teaching job. I need to get my head back in that writing zone and I need to get back into my rhythm of writing frequently and consistently, which served me well during my MA (40,000 words+ written and edited to a Master’s standard between April and August).
To that end, I’m planning to do the following:
- Start on 17th December (the date the college breaks up for Yule).
- Finish a month later on 16th January.
- Write 20,000 words in that time (an average of around 650 words per day).
20,000 words as a target falls well short of the NaNoWriMo 50k, I know, but I’m more interested in quality, building up a sustainable rhythm that I can continue after 16th January, still getting my lecturing work done (planning lessons and marking) and – gasp! – socialising with family over Yule and New Year.
I’ll post on here from time-to-time about my progress and, my stitchy friends will be glad to hear that after the holidays, I’ll be working 4 days a week, so hopefully I’ll get some sewing done – huzzah!