November 1st came and went and I categorically declared I wouldn’t even attempt to write a novel in 30 days this year. I very deliberately missed the start of NaNoWriMo* and told everyone I would cheer them on instead and work on my own projects.
I was being sensible, pragmatic and very grown up about it all.
Last year I plotted, planned and prepared, knowing from the start that the month would be filled with emotional hurdles but I managed to write a staggering 26,000 words regardless before I kind of crumpled in a heap.
(One day I promise I will return to the Book of Esther, my own retelling of the Old Testament story. I had such grand plans and even more grandiose delusions.)
Then as I watched my Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds I became a little sad – all my other writing friends were having so much fun. Maybe I should play along? Perhaps I could finish last year’s novel or was it too late to make up something entirely new…?
So on November 3rd I invented a character or two in my head and hastily made up the flimsiest of plots. By November 4th I started writing in secret and the following day I confessed all to my NaNo buddies – I AM DOING NANO AFTER ALL!!!!!!!
Now I know I must be mad and heading for “disaaaaaster”**
I have no plot, no plan and I have decided to write with no pressure!
Ha – let’s see how this works.
For someone who usually plans everything and likes to know what is happening this is a new way of working. In life I like to know where I am heading, I like to know exactly what I am going to wear if I am going out, I like to check the map several times before I set off on a journey to anywhere new.
And yet I love the thought of being totally spontaneous, I love to rebel and suddenly change my plans, I am the girl who jumps in with both feet and says “Let’s just dye my hair pink for fun!”
So I currently have 5000 words of complete drivel. For once I have no expectations that this will be my most marvellous novel – it certainly won’t be but I am having so much fun word sprinting*** with my friends and generally making things up as I go along.
For three days on the trot I wrote the required 1667 words, I even got up one morning and reeled off 500 words before breakfast! An almost unheard of feat for me.
Today I’ve written zero words, except what I have typed here (656 words if you are interested) but I refuse to get stressed about it.
If I beat last year’s word count total – Hooray!
If I come up with a plot that sort of makes sense – I will be astounded!
If I have a lot of fun – my eyes will sparkle**** and that can only be a good thing!
But I’m hoping most of all to learn something even more important from this experience – I’m hoping to learn to let go, to stop planning my life so meticulously, to give up the need to be in control and instead see what unfolds by chance when I am not so concerned by my own master plan!
*NaNoWriMo – “National Novel Writing Month” - 50,000 words in 30 days!
** "disaaaaaster" this word should be emphasised in the style of Craig Revel Horwood from Strictly Come Dancing!
***word sprinting - a timed writing exercise – someone says “go” and we all write for an agreed time limit then come back on Facebook or Twitter and compare word counts!
****my best friend says my eyes sparkle when I am writing something and being creative. When I announce I have a new 5 year plan for my life she despairs and shakes her head!