I thought blogging about NaNoWriMo in October would be sufficiently ahead of the game. However, I’ve been beaten to it by Oliver at Literature and Libation who posted on 17th September. So in an effort to pull my socks up I’m going to post the first of the blogs I was planning to put up in October.
Firstly, if there is anyone out there (surely not?) who isn’t familiar with what National Novel Writing Month is or does check out the link here.
Secondly, I’ve taken part and won two years in a row. Hopefully this year will be my hat trick. However the first question that always has to be wresteled with is whether to plan or wing it. To be honest it’s a question that comes up quite a lot in less high octane writing, but in NaNo it can feel like there’s more pressure to succeed and therefore everything just gets more and more condensed and focused until it explodes all over the walls.
This year and last year I planned because there was/is something specific I wanted to write. My first year I just sat down and wrote because I didn’t know what NaNo was until the 3rd November. Then I created an account and spent the whole month furiously playing catch up.
The honest answer though is that I don’t think it really matters if you plan or not. Like everyday writing it’s about going with whatever works for you. Both methods have their own and shared pitfalls.
It’s easier sometimes to have the security of a plan to work with, but alternatively nothing yet has beaten the buzz I had my first year when I just sat down and allowed myself free creative splurge over the page. The only thing that I would categorically stamp over is that if you do choose to plan then be flexible. Don’t force something to work if it’s going to lose you your word count. One year I changed perspective half way through writing and it was all fine. Honest. Hell, my first year I got the end and had no idea what was going to happen and created a portal to a different world. Needless to say it was not my greatest moment, but I still hit 50, 000 words and the rest of the first draft was good enough to keep.
So, do what you like. Do what works. Just remember, you are going to be writing, living, breathing, eating, sleeping and dreaming this story for four weeks. Four weeks! For four weeks you are going to be a very boring person to anyone who isn’t also taking part. Make sure it’s a story you absolutely, positively can’t wait to write. Make sure that you will expire in a puff of disappointed air if you can’t sit down and write it.
And finally, if you do decide you want to have a bash come and be friends with me. Here’s my profile. If we’re in the same time zone I may even be up for a word war this year.