Delphine Woods - Enthusiastic, budding author
Camp NaNoWriMo: 50k words in 30 days
In July I set myself the challenge to write 50k words in one month. And I did it!
But it was hard.
I have always taken my writing seriously, but before July, some days I just couldn’t bring myself to the desk. Sometimes, I would look at the computer screen and couldn’t think of a single sentence. I would go in bursts of productivity and procrastination. So, having to write 50k words in a relatively short amount of time was going to be a challenge and I didn’t really think I could do it.
At the start, it was difficult. I knew where I wanted my story to go and what I wanted to happen, but I hadn’t written it down in a proper plan and felt like I was floundering. Enough was enough. One day in early July I planned out all the chapters that I wanted to write for the month. This helped enormously. It is hard to be creative all the time, so if you have a plan, on those days when your brain is shouting at you that it’s too tired and to go and watch TV, it is only a matter of self-will to sit yourself at the desk and write what you have already planned.
The most difficult thing really was writing every day. In order to reach my target, I should have written just under 2k words each day … but I don’t like working weekends! And I do think a break is good for you, otherwise you begin to resent your story, your characters, your life … and then you go out and get a ‘normal’ job. So, I wrote over 2k each day, Monday to Friday. Inevitably, life gets in the way and some days it is impossible to be at the desk, but on the whole, I kept to my plan.
A month seems like a really long time … at the start of the month. But trust me, you’re soon into week 3 and all of a sudden you realise just how much progress you’ve made. The slog really does pay off.
I finished on July 30th, pounding out my last 4k words to finish the first half of my book. I had done it!
So, how did sitting down every working day and getting those words out help me?
- Firstly, I wrote a huge chunk of my book in a short time. If I’d been carrying on like I had been, I would probably be only a third of the way through.
- It made me realise the importance of a plan. Planning takes out the hard imagination and plotting work, leaving you with the (relatively) easier task of just getting it onto the page.
- It reinforced the fact that I am capable of doing this properly, that I’m not just playing at writing. It made me treat my writing as real work. The house work had to wait, the cooking had to wait. My writing was just as important as anybody else’s ‘normal’ job.
- It made me fall in love with my characters and their situations because I was so engrossed with them each and every day.
- It made me turn my internal editor off. I didn’t have the time to sit editing the last chapter, I had to get on with the next. This helped me stay focused. And on the days when my writing was rubbish and I just wasn’t feeling it, at least I had written the bones down. The editing will come later when the whole book is done and will be better for it.
- Most importantly, I now know that I can do this. I’m not slowing down. I have the other half of the book to write this month. I have a target per day and I’m sticking to it, come hell or high water (and all the other clichés that sidle in when the brain is aching)! And I have a rough plan of all the other books that I want to research, plan, write, edit and publish, which takes me up to September 2019.