NaNoWriMo… day 1

Yesterday, November 1st, All Saints Day,was the first day of the NaNoWriMo challenge… writing a novel in a month, or at least 50,000 words of it! I was tempted to do it last year, but only discovered the site too late to properly prepare… I don’t mean writing drafts, or planning plot-lines, or writing lists of characters and their descriptions, I don’t write like that anyway. To me writing a story is going on a journey, and I rarely know where exactly I’m going to end up, nor where I’m going en route, nor who is travelling with me, let alone what will happen on the trip! So being properly prepared, or not properly prepared last year, meant having an idea of what I was going to be writing about, and a vague notion of the point of view of the narrator, at least at the beginning. And also last year, it did seem a mighty big challenge!

So what has happened this year which has made a difference to me as a writer? Why was I ready to do NaNo this year? Well, first of al, I had the inkling of a story, and had already roughed out some episodes from it – disjointed, random bits of writing about the Radwinter family; so, I had a starting point. I have also wanted to write about doing family tree research, and in fact I’ve written several blog posts about families I have looked for through census and other records. I’ve not discovered anything particularly exciting about my family, but I know some people have, so I could imagine a story where a family finds out much more than they ever dreamt they could, and maybe the dreams were nightmares…

However, it’s not just having a few scraps of story line and some possible characters roaming round in my head, it’s something about me as a writer. I have been writing this blog for eighteen months now, I’ve written it every day, practising my craft, as well as having great fun and enjoying pursuing my passion. So that has been really good exercise as a writer. Also I have, over the last eighteen months, edited five stories which i wrote years ago, worked hard at brushing them up, polishing and refining and then publishing them on Kindle as e-books. This, I feel, was the real graft of writing, the real work of it… building up my creative stamina, working on my editorial muscles, focussing my mind…

So now, although I’m not 1000% sure I will complete the NaNo challenge, I feel confident about undertaking it, and even if I don’t finish it in the month (I’ll be disappointed, of course) but I will still have however many thousand words of my Radwinter story!

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