I’ve been reading lots of blogs where fellow writers have committed to National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo runs in November and encourages writers to put enough words on the page each day to have a first draft completed by the end of the month. This is absolutely an approach that I’ve used in the past. My first manuscript was completed over the school summer holiday in 2009 when I wrote 1,000 words a day for seven weeks. This resulted in the first draft of Manipulation, a story about a gap year in Australia that goes wrong.
My problem with NaNoWriMo is the amount you’d have to write in just 30 days to have a 50,000 word draft at the end of the month. I find it impossible to write more than 1,000 words a day but by keeping to that target I make good progress over a longer period. I started MPhil studies in Creative Writing with the University of South Wales on 4 October when I spent the first residential weekend at Glamorgan. The first question my supervisor asked was when the first draft of my new work-in-progress would be completed. Up to that point, I had been writing in a more relaxed way trying not to put too much pressure on myself. Now with a deadline in early 2014 I’m back to my old routine, and I’ve notched up 30,000 words in a month.
Writing at this pace is exhausting with the added pressure of trying to keep all the other plates spinning. Mostly I get up early in the morning to write and can sometimes complete 1,000 words in a couple of hours. Other days I write dribs and drabs throughout. No matter the approach, the end goal is in sight and I guess I’m half way towards a first draft. So, I’m going to treat myself to a couple of days off from writing by visiting my daughter at university. I can’t break the routine entirely, so I’m planning on getting up early in the morning to complete 1,000 words before setting off.
Good luck NaNoWriMo, and let the principles apply all year round.