Do you know what? It feels really good to be dubbed a winner for writing and that’s what I am, according to NaNoWriMo, as of today. I have managed to reach the 50,000 word count goal and I am both exhausted and elated.
This is the first time I’ve committed to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I was driven to do it by people asking me when Resistance would be out and will they be able to get it at YALC 2017? So, thank you to everyone who made those enquiries because it’s looking much more likely that I’ll have it ready for July 2017 — I now have 9 months to finish the first draft, edit and have it proofed and printed for all you wonderful readers. And, although this feels like a victory, I’m not there yet but it’s nice to have a little boost in the midst of the process.
Here’s a little recap of how I fared:
I started out strong and positive. I’d already written 5,000 words of my book over the course of the year; this tends to happen with each of my books — I write little bits to whet my appetite. Most of those little bits are random pieces of scenes and always the end paragraph — I have to know where the book is going before I start. But, I kept that 5k out of my word count because I believe in sportsman like conduct. The first four days I met the daily word count like a champion but then the weekend came around and it was time to meet my new nephew, who is far more important that word on a page. I picked up again the next week and slowly built up my words… and then Trump won and I became completely distracted by the news cycle. The problem with days off is that you then have to play catch-up. Fortunately, I haven’t had a real holiday this year and had some spare annual leave which I’ve used to write. (Fun fact, 90% of my holiday allocation has been used for writing this year). Then I just chugged on through, writing around 1,600 words a day, through headaches, lack of motivation, lack of sleep, plot holes and general annoyances like work and spending the odd evening with my boyfriend.
Here’s what I learnt:
I can do it. I can write when I don’t want to. I can write through any mood (except a Trump win). I don’t need to be ‘in the zone’, I can do it any time, any place. And so can you. Writing isn’t restricted to those moments of inspiration or bursts of enthusiasm, it is there all the time, you just have to be willing to push yourself to tap into it. I didn’t believe this was possible, it usually takes me a year and a half to write a book but now, I have most of a first draft and the majority of it was done in a single month. Just, don’t go comparing yourself to people who can do it over a weekend, that’s not right or normal. They are not human.
Well, it’s also made me reflect on my year — I keep thinking that anything pre-August was last year, which is surely a bad sign. Usually I am absurdly lazy but something changed when I turned 31, I realised I needed to put in some more effort. Granted, I can still spend weeks lying on my sofa bingeing on Netflix but, I have achieved and because I’m so used to not achieving, I keep forgetting what I’ve done. Since January I have self-publish my first book (whilst we renovated our second flat, which took up all our weekends) spent weeks formatting and finding the right POD company. I’ve attended my first ever book event (YALC) and sold 50 books, which isn’t bad, I don’t think. I started working on More Than Human in March but marketing Rebellion was a distraction and so in August I focused entirely on MTH and finished the first draft at the beginning of October — the fastest I’ve ever drafted a book. And then I began gearing up for November by thinking through Resistance’s plot and getting the characters clear in my head. So, 2016 may be the worst year in recent history but it’s been a year of achieving for me. It’s been a tough year, but sometimes you need to push yourself if you want to move forward and, remarkably, I think I’ve done that.
And finally, for those of you interested in how Resistance is taking shape — so far it is much darker and funnier than Rebellion, which sounds odd. Because it was always going to be a hard book to write I think the humour slipped in as a way of me comforting myself. I don’t know how it’ll read yet but that’s always the fun/horrifying part. I just can’t wait to be able to share it with you all.