For Creative Writers Everywhere…

No Going Back

A few years ago a regular PW contributor wrote and told me about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which involves thousands of people from all over the world attempting to write a novel (50,000 words) during November.

I had never heard of it before and only gave the website a brief look as I was busy with other projects, not very internet savvy and a little suspicious when it came to joining websites. Since then, I’ve become much braver and, of course, I’ve even started blogging!

So I had a good look at the website a few months ago and began reading comments from experienced participants and new, on their site and on blogs. Suspicions all gone, my only concerns were my workload and self-doubt. I changed my mind a hundred (give or take one or two) times over the past few weeks but eventually the for list grew longer than the against. Especially when they took my favourite television program off air Monday to Friday (Bargain Hunt)…that meant five hours a week I could hunt for inspiration and motivation. A good start, but if anyone from Seven Two is reading this, please bring Bargain Hunt back in December!

After signing up I felt good…that lovely feeling of anticipation you get when the time feels just right. Let’s hope it stays with me for the next thirty days!

Moving into the house last November after two years in the shed, broke my semi-regular writing habit and I haven’t completed any short stories, very few poems or added to my novels-in-progress since. Of course, I have written a monthly editorial for PW, hundreds of response letters and emails and this blog but I really need to get back to my own writing.

On the against side the voice kept telling me I should finish my other novels before embarking on a new one but I read a post from a fellow blogger who said NaNoWriMo was a great way to get organised and prioritise. So I’m beginning from scratch with a new plot, a few notes, a start, middle and end in mind but no serious plan. When I was in High School we were always told to do a writing plan for our stories and my teacher told me my writing would be much better for it. I found writing plans boring; I just wanted to get on with the stories, so to satisfy her I wrote my ‘plan’ after I finished my stories and submitted them for marking. Result: happy teacher who said she could see a big improvement in my writing and happy Sandra-the-Rebel who still did it her way! To this day I still think we all work in different ways and should follow whichever way works best for ourselves. (But be open to change and other ideas!) I do often scribble down lots of notes, a kind of messy plan, not as structured as many people who work with firm ideas of chapters etc., and the notes are very necessary as my memory often fails me!

My other reason for embarking on this quest (madness) is to road test it for all the Positive Words readers who, like me, may have wondered about NaNoWriMo and whether they should give it a try. Or haven’t heard of it but could be interested. I’m going to keep a bit of a diary about my thoughts along the way and will do a full summary at the end.

If you’re attempting NaNoWriMo this year, let me know. Perhaps we can be writing buddies 🙂


Comments on: "No Going Back" (15)

  1. Hi Sandra,

    I’ve known about NanoWriMo for several years now, but haven’t taken the bull by the horns and had a go. Good Luck for November. I’ll be interested in hearing how you get on. (Perhaps the Great Australian Novel will come out of it!!)

  2. I had never heard of this until other bloggers kept mentioning it. I am tempted and have one day to decide – argh!

  3. Okay I have signed up! But what are you supposed to put in that ‘sponsored url’ box?

    • I left mine blank…I really didn’t know what it was and I’m hoping it isn’t important. It took me ages to figure out how to put a photo on and then I ended up with it as my cover. Kept going and decided that although I hate being in photos it probably is nicer for others to have an idea of who they are conversing with. I will try to find you on there and add you as a ‘writing buddy’. I learnt how to after a kind person added me 🙂

  4. Glenda and Michael Janes said:

    Hi Sandra.

    I will be embarking on my third NaNo this year, having successfully completed it the last two years. Interestingly, the first attempt was terrific, the prose almost writing itself (although having said that, it’s sitting in a folder in a cupboard and will probably never see the light of day again) but last year’s was a disappointment; every word seemed to be a struggle to write. But I’m looking forward to doing it again this year; it’s amazing how it’s possible to find time when you think you have none.

    All the best in your endeavour and if you want a ‘buddy’ to exchange encouraging emails (or NaNo mail) with or to compare word counts with, I’ll be happy to be one.

    Thanks for your wonderful magazine too; hope you have time to put that together during November as well as write your novel!

    Glenda Janes

    PS: I tried to respond on your blog, but my reply disappeared when I clicked on ‘Post’, so who knows where it is, somewhere in ether probably.

    • Hi Glenda, it must be okay if you went back a second time and now a third even after a disappointing second run. Knowing you are out there writing too will encourage me on the more difficult days, I’m sure. And thanks for your kind comments about the magazine. The November issue is printed and I drove all the way to Bendigo this morning to buy the bags to post them as I’d run out, only to find it is Bendigo Cup Day and everything’s closed! Well, almost everything – I got some envelopes at the supermarket although they were much more expensive which puts a strain on the already tight PW budget. Then I came home to find lots of lovely replies, so it really cheered me up! The December issue is half done – I made sure I got a bit ahead so I would have time.
      It will be great to have you as a writing buddy and I hope I can help encourage you, too. Email whenever you need to 🙂

  5. Hi Fay,

    Thank you! I’m hoping to have some great things to report at the end of the month and perhaps next year we will have lots of PW readers typing madly in November 🙂


  6. Go for it Sandra!! I will enjoy reading about your journey as you complete the 50 000 words.

  7. I have known about this for quite a few years, but have never joined up. I won’t be again this year, as we will be travelling to see the kids and grandkids. However, I am hoping to get into it one year – maybe next.
    Good luck with your own efforts. If you get the 50,000 words, you win!! Cheers 🙂

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