Halfway There / Living On A Prayer

It’s the middle of November, and I thought I’d take a little time to give a quick update on how things have gone for me at the halfway point of NaNoWriMo. It’s Day (night) 14, and I’m doing well on 22,365 words. I’ve got a bit of work still to do tonight and tomorrow to reach the 25,000 words for Day 15.

It hasn’t been a linear curve though. I started out on a bad note by not writing anything on the first day (a Friday) and then struggling in the early stages of that first weekend. It took me the better part of a week to catch back up to par, and as soon as I got there I fell off the wagon the next day. I got sick with a flu which all but wiped out another two days, and it took a monster effort on the second weekend and throughout the next week to get back on track. Hopefully I can stay there now, or even get ahead if I’m lucky.

Participating in NaNo has been an amazing, rewarding experience so far. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster characterised by huge and sudden swings from confidence boosting highs to soul-crushing lows, sometimes within 24 hours of each other. Overall it has been wonderful for my confidence, self-belief, and ability to persevere. Although I’ve had my doubts about the quality of writing that comes out of such a high-speed process, I have to admit that the enforced limitation of the word count really does work wonders for getting you to actually put pen to paper / fingers to keys. When you have no time you can’t worry about whether it’s any good or not, you just write. It’s a liberating feeling. It made me realise how much I’ve held myself back in the past by being hypercritical of everything I write, by letting the inner editor take over before the inner writer even gets a fair chance.

It’s also been an exhausting experience. There are days when you sit at the desk and nothing comes out, and other days they come like a volcanic eruption, spewing forth into the world. For me the most interesting part was what I like to think of as the ‘birth’ of the story: at about 10,000 words in everything began to click, and even though the plot was all over the place it felt like a story had been born. My characters had outgrown my one dimensional notes and taken on a life of their own. It felt pretty cool.

So there’s my brief update for those readers who are interested. For the rest of you, I’ve got some post plans for December, so you might have to wait until then for more travel or humour stuff. Frankly you should have realised my standards are slipping when a Bon Jovi reference is the post title.

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