It was only a couple of years ago – 2011 to be exact – that I discovered National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is fondly known. The idea is that every November, writers commit to starting – and finishing – a novel in that month. The aim is to write around 1,660 words a day, some 50,000 words all up. Some writers write more, some less. Some writers finish novels, some publish novels as a result, some give up only a few days in.
I wasn’t ready to start or finish a novel in 2011, let alone commit to writing 1,600+ words a day, so I signed up for NaNoWriMo’s little sister: NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month. I committed to writing one blog post a day as a NaNoRebel. This was much more doable. At the time, I hadn’t posted much to this blog, so it seemed like an awesome way to reinvigorate it. And at the end of that November, I had written 30 posts in 30 days, gotten back into the habit of blogging regularly and so declared NaBloPoMo a success!
This year, I signed up to write 1,000 a day for NaNoWriMo and since November 1, I’m writing about 250 words a day, apart from a burst of 1,500 words on Sunday to make up for not having written on Saturday (in my defence, though, I did import my novel into Scrivener and set up the structure). It’s not what I thought would happen. As a pantser, I thought the words would pour out of me. They aren’t. What I’ve discovered in these past few days is that while I can easily write 2, 000+ words of non-fiction, fiction is a whole other ball game, and I’ve struggled. It’s like my creative writing muscle has atrophied and I have to do some serious physiotherapy and exercise to get it back in shape.
Connected to NaNoWriMo, and in an effort to boost the amount of writing I’m doing, I’ve also committed to journalling every day. This is mainly to get into the habit of a daily writing schedule. Yes, I blog – and sometimes spend days or weeks working on and refining a post – but it’s not the same as writing creatively on a whole lot of different topics or subjects or experiences or ideas. I downloaded a gorgeous app and have been journalling on my iPhone, which is where I do probably 80% of my blogging. I know this truth is self-evident, but for me to do something like writing – or exercising! – it’s got to be a relatively easy thing to do, and it has to be something I can do with the least amount of adjustment to something I already do. Hence, journalling on my iPhone.
While it’s early days in my journalling adventures, I’ve found this activity has morphed into the domain of experimental writing. I’m trying on different metaphors and descriptions and ideas in my writing and see if they work. I’m tuning to my creative writing rhythm, the beat of the words, the flow of sentences. I’m finding it’s a practical way to exercise my fiction-writing muscle, which, as I mentioned earlier, has almost withered and died on the bone.
Back to NaBloPoMo. I gave another blog – Delicious Scribblings* – which I haven’t posted regularly to since starting* it at the beginning of the year. It was created as a place to publish my creative writing, separate to this blog. But it’s languished, wilted. So I had the thought: what if I post my journals to the Delicious Publishing blog? What if I forget about NaNoWriMo and just do NaBloPoMo? I’ll still be doing a lot of writing, but I’ll be writing outside my comfort zone, which needs serious work. That makes sense, right?
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going back to being a NaNoRebel.
I’m committing to NaBloPoMo again this year, and I’m using it to get creative. I may go back to my novel as I feel myself becoming more comfortable with this genre of writing, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. At this point in time, it’s much more advantageous to work on my weak spots.
My novel isn’t going anywhere, and anyway, who says NaNoWriMo has to be completed in November?
* It was originally called Dileeshusly, but seeing as I want to move into independent/self-publishing and I’ve registered the domain names deliciouspublising.com and deliciouspublishing.com.au as well as registered the business name Delicious Publishing, it makes sense to have the names align. So I changed the name yesterday.