My total word count today: 10,087
I don’t remember when I first hear about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but it was some years ago, before I ever had an idea strong enough for a book. It was probably when I was writing poetry and painting with acrylics, giving more time to painting than to writing. But the seed was planted nonetheless. Since that time, it has sat quietly in the back of my mind, rooting itself: a lofty goal to one day have a go at, but when I was older and had more free time.
As luck would have it, I’m older this year and have a hell of a lot more free time than I ever have. At the end of October, I was feeling quite down once again. I won’t go into all the details, but something that came up in therapy was the idea of finding a purpose for myself—a group to volunteer with, a new hobby to get me out of the house, something along those lines. It struck me that it was nearly November—could this be the year? I have been working on a few drafts of wildly different books over the last year and a half or so. Maybe I could choose one and have a go at it?
Almost as quickly as the idea formed, I was on the NaNoWriMo website, creating a profile and finding a local group to connect with. I joined the Canterbury Writers Discord and found a wonderful band of people that have the same weird insatiable need to vomit words that I do. I joined up, started going to events, and set down my goal for November.
I am what is considered a NaNo Rebel—I’m not working strictly within the lines of the traditional rules for the challenge. I am still hoping to hit 50,000 words, but rather than starting a brand-new project, I am starting with about 22,000 words and aiming to have a finished first draft by the end of November.
That being said, I am also allowing myself a level of flexibility. Knowing that I can be quite hard on myself and struggle with perfectionism, I am striving to keep things malleable. As long as I am writing consistently, enjoying the process, and connecting with people, then I’m hitting the mark. And it’s a good thing too, because yesterday I re-wrote my entire outline.
That’s right, on day 6 I decided to completely restructure my entire novel. And you know what? It’s fine! As my fellow writers reassured me in our virtual check-in last night, this is a very normal and totally okay thing to do. Sometimes you get into a story and realize that things need to shift. Maybe an unexpected character appears, maybe you realize that your original idea wasn’t all that compelling after all. Whatever it is, it’s okay.
So this morning I spent a couple of hours at a cafe writing two scenes within the framework of this new outline. I might write a bit more later on, but for now I’m switching gears and doing a bit of work in the garden and enjoying the spring sunshine. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all develops, and hopefully having a completed first draft soon enough (whether that’s November, or a bit beyond). I’m also hoping to do a few more of these NaNo updates!