I’m not suggesting for one minute that me writing a certain amount of words in one month as part of a writing challenge is anything at all about training fr a physical event like running a marathon or swimming the channel, or even preparing for a smaller event like a charity run/walk or long cycle ride. It certainly isn’t physically but to a tiny extent there are aspects which are the same.
When I set myself the challenge to write fifty thousand words in a month, from previous experience I realised that I had to prepare mentally, and in a practical way too. Although I wrote not one single word of my story before November 1st (and I didn’t do that at a minute past midnight on the day, I waited until I woke up in the morning) I’d had a lot of general thoughts, imagining some scenes, thinking about characters, settling on some themes. I scheduled a load of stuff so it was out of the way for that one month, and I set my alarm at six a.m.
The day dawned and I was up at six and with a cup of tea busy writing by just after five past (I was very keen!) I disciplined myself to just write without distractions… and write I did. My imagined scenes, characters and most of the themes disappeared as I began to write, but like a runner pounding the streets (well, not exactly, but you know what I mean) I pounded the keyboard. I got into my writing rhythm, and having reached my daily target first thing, I was able to return to the story later on and add extras… so I did reach my month’s target early, and I did complete the challenge.
On Friday 30th November, we went away from the weekend, so it was time off from writing. I’d run my writing race and crossed the finish line, arms aloft (not really!) I had a wonderful weekend with my family and didn’t write a single word except in my head – my story was rolling on mentally. Yesterday, back home, I came back to the computer… and I just messed and fiddled around… I began editing another anthology I’m writing with friends, I wrote some blogs, I completed some family stories to send to my cousins, I wrote some letters… but I did not write one word of my story…
I think I needed a few days of reflection, and now I feel ready to return, and no doubt when I’ve finished the household chores and other stuff, I will write. However, yesterday while I was fiddling and messing and doing other stuff, I began to think of another plan. I must admit I’d impressed myself with my writing over November… and I have decided to set myself another plan.
The National Novel Writing Month site has a lot of useful features to support you while you undertake the challenge – including stats analysts and projection and targets etc. Even when the challenge is over, the site is still there, active and supportive. So, I have set up another target for myself; it’s a realistic target (I think/hope) and it’s a three-month target. I hope by March I shall have achieved a certain number of extra words which should complete my story and it will then be ready for a major editing job, preparing it for publication in late spring… that’s the idea.
Even if I don’t succeed, at least I will have produced more than if I’d not started… and it will be interstice to see if this gets me into the writing groove, and helps me be more organised… me… organised… now that is a challenging thought!