Unwise writer, week 6: computer says NoMoWriMo

It’s often part of the narrative arc for a protagonist to have one last, seemingly insurmountable obstacle that threatens to stop them from achieving their goal. In my own true-life drama, my laptop gave up the ghost with four days left of NaNoWriMo, jeopardising my ridiculous/charmingly eccentric novel-writing adventure. This was bad news, especially as I was still catching up after missing three days’ work because of a very useful writing workshop.

I had neither the time nor the money for such a roadblock, but was left with no choice. I’m currently trying to overcome my IT idiotry by getting to know a shiny new chromebook, which will have to be paid for with busking or some such (which reminds me – I must learn to play an instrument now that my time is about to be freed up again).

And so, like Rocky Balboa taking on Apollo Creed in the Rocky finale – though with far less bloodshed – I have staggered to the 50,000-word goal set by NaNoWriMo. When I achieved victory and the final bell rang, I raised my weary arms above my head and then went to pop on the kettle for a nice, celebratory cup of tea. No doubt Rocky did much the same after he was scooped up and shovelled out of the ring.

Now that WriMo is NoMo, I’ll be reigning things in a bit. My to-do list reads like this:

  1. Clean my house
  2. Clean my house
  3. Clean my house

After that, the sky is the limit. I might even go and walk around shops, just for the heck of it (or at least busk outside them, using my soon-to-be-acquired musical skills). Plus I hear Christmas is on the way.

My conclusion from the past four weeks is that NaNoWriMo works. I don’t think it’s possible, or indeed healthy, to write so intensively all the time, but for a finite period it’s very useful and sustainable to have a specific daily and monthly goal. Together with the 11,000 words I had going into this challenge, I now have 61,000 words of a novel that I didn’t have six or seven weeks ago. It’s by no means a full manuscript – that’s going to take another while – but it has broken the back of it. I certainly have more than I would without such bite-size goals to aim for. It’s a sort of literary WeightWatchers, but with the emphasis on addition rather than subtraction.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 at 12.06.14
Look at that, isn’t it beautiful? No? Just me, then

So, what’s next? I’m going to keep plugging away, albeit at a less all-consuming pace, with the aim of having a first draft finished by Christmas if possible. I don’t want to lose the writing momentum as it would defeat the purpose if I have three-quarters of something languishing in a folder on my pleasingly unscratched  new typing device.

Then I might shut up shop for a couple of weeks in order to dedicate myself fully to eating Stilton by the fire, and return to it with fresh eyes in January. That will be the start of a period of word herding, editing and sobbing. A whole new adventure.

This week’s word count: a whopping 15,791 words. I couldn’t have done it without you, NaNo. No, you’re the best. Let’s stay in touch, yeah?

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