In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Joy of Success

  I won NaNoWriMo! And I'm surprised, to be honest, how much that matters to me.

  I did think it was a silly idea, at the start. Write 50,000 words in 30 days? Pfft. Just about possible, I suppose, but why bother? I decided to do it anyway because I've been a bit becalmed, unable to make a couple of story ideas quite work and slowly gnawing off my own fingers in frustration. (I'm typing this with my nose, it's really hard). I thought the deadline, however artificial, might serve to galvanise me into sustained action.

  And it did. Just goes to show, there's more than one way to do this writing thing. It really is an art, not a science. Everyone has their own approach; some plan every detail before they begin the story, some draw extensive character lists, some write in the mornings, some in silence... and others don't. It's fine. If it works for you, don't worry about anyone else. The strange thing about NaNo is that I've had to write in a much more direct, almost banzai way than I usually do, very headlong, and somehow it's worked. I've got the first draft of a novel 65,000 words long, all done in 25 days.

  OK, it will need a lot of revision and editing, there's a lot to change and check. But still, I tried a different approach and it worked, and I would not have bet a bent penny on that happening. Once more I've discovered that I don't know half what I thought I knew. It happens quite a lot, does that. If it keeps happening I might one day learn that I really don't know very much, but don't count on it anytime soon.

  In my last post I said that perhaps the best thing about NaNoWriMo is the number of fellow authors I've met, most of them in my local area of Devon. More than that, they're people I'm comfortable talking with, they're just nice folks, and it's been a genuine pleasure spending time in their company. I really hope to stay in touch with them when November is over - I said that before, too, so forgive me the repetition. It's just that I've had bags of fun. There's been a lot of work, my eyes have ached from strain and I really need a rest, but mostly it's just been a pleasure. And sometimes, when we writers struggle to pull words out of the air or our minds and string them together, that can slip our minds. We forget that it's our passion for words which got us into this writing gig in the first place.

  I have been reminded, so thank you NaNoWriMo, and thank you to everyone in the forums and chat rooms, it's been a blast.

  POSTSCRIPT - the novel is called "Troy - A Brand of Fire". Depending on a few other things - not least how the editing goes - it might be my next novel to be published, in the New Year. Thought I should probably mention that at some point.