Well, I’ve penned 15,000 words, a third of NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 words in 30 days target. (If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, become enlightened here.)
I’m actually kind of shocked at myself. I feel a little betrayed – if writing was going to be this fun, easy and absorbing, why the hell didn’t I get into it sooner? Of course, there are downsides to the whole novel-writing thing, like the death of your social life, but luckily I have wonderfully supportive friends who have encouraged, cheered and occasionally bullied me since Day One.
Here are some things I’ve learned from my first week.
1) When writing it’s essential to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. I sit in bed wearing fingerless gloves typing on a small table that would be the kind of thing I’d eat breakfast off if I ever ate breakfast in bed… on a table. Sitting up with pillows propped behind my back is actually my concession to discomfort – comfort would be lying down under the covers. I tried this once, on Saturday afternoon, and fell asleep for two hours. Not the most efficient way to write a book.
2) Every time I’ve tried to write in the past, I’ve just sort of… done it. The story was in my head and would come to me as I typed, I figured. As it turns out, this is horseshit. You need a plan. I came up with a story structure and planned my twelve chapters (might revise this down to ten), and the rest is more or less just filling in the blanks.
3) Mood music. I prefer my writing music not to have words because my brain is too small to ignore the lyrics and type at the same time. I found an awesome playlist on Stereomood, but I found that I kept being ambushed by tracks that didn’t fit my mood. So After much hullabaloo, I made my own playlist. I also find myself listening to Clair de Lune every goddamn night. I don’t know why*.
4) I will not be publishing my novel, even when I finish it, even though I think it’s actually maybe kinda good. (Although I’ll probably try at least once to revise this novel once NaNoWriMo is over.) There are a couple of reasons. First, it’s a first novel. I’m surprised to realise that writing is in fact a practicable skill, contrary to my belief until now that you’re either born Umberto Eco or you’re not. But I’m aiming high, and this has been an invaluable learning experience. I just don’t think it’s something I’d like to publish.
Anyway, wish me luck, and if any of you out there are participating in NaNoWriMo, good luck!!
* A lie. I DO know why. There’s a song on the writing playlist that has the same first two notes as Clair de Lune, and every time I hear it I experience massive cognitive dissonance as a result of frustrated expectations. So then I have to YouTube Clair de Lune. Let’s not be judgemental here.