Dipping a toe into NaNoWriMo

I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, but I wrote today, jumped on into the completely hidden waters of my new novel. Why? Simply because it’s NaNoWriMo time, that time of year that sends writers into a frenzy with the challenge of writing an entire novel during the month of November. I’ve never completed NaNoWriMo before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever started. And I am a day late if I am going to do it this year.

It’s a completely ridiculous time to try to write an entire novel, with a new babe and trying to sell/rent/buy/move/relocate houses. Every day is just a smidge under completely hysterical in our house.

But maybe that’s the point? Maybe that’s exactly the time I should be jumping into the pool to cool off from the high pressure heat of elsewhere?

I was encouraged by Kim Wilkins’ recent post on keeping going even while things are super hard. And I love her fun yet practical idea of picking numbered boxes to motivate the day’s word count.

Today, I clocked up 1909 words. Not bad considering I haven’t actually plotted out my book yet and I just banged them out while the baby was asleep. I’ve no idea where I’m going next but I guess I’ll just have to turn up each day and find out.

Swimming in the dark? Sure… nothing bad ever happens when you do that 😉

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What do you mean I can’t write?

What does a writer do when she cannot write?

I don’t mean cannot write in the sense of writer’s block; I mean physically cannot? Due to recent laptop repairs I found myself without my computer for almost two weeks. (Repairs aren’t entirely fixed… you may notice that the comma key still doesn’t work… more repairs to come…) No problem. I can write with a pen!

So here I am enjoying writing by longhand. Enjoying the creative flow as it passes through my ink. Enjoying the inability to backspace and delete. Enjoying not fussing with corrections every time I make a typo. Just writing… free as a bird.

Ho ho. No such luck. Next I conveniently tear a ligament in my wrist while simultaneously pushing down on a metal stake and twisting it at the same time. (Note to self: not good to exert force through a twisting joint.) It is of course my writing hand.

Hmmm. That’s a bit of a problem. What now? I try writing with my left hand but that is as useful as an umbrella full of holes.

Voice activated software?? Come now. It won’t be that long until your wrist is better. Maybe a week.

A week! Such a long time when I have just started a new novel and my characters are bouncing around in my head and jostling to be heard. But a week it has been. And in that time I have actually found that my characters’ voices have become clearer. Their plot paths more tangled (in a good way). And the literary shape of the book has started to appear.

By forcing me to wait my wrist has given me quite a gift. Because instead of bolting head-on into actually writing the chapters (that would inevitably be deleted and rewritten anyway) I actually have a better sense of where to begin.

So perhaps less writing and more thinking was exactly what I needed?

But enough’s enough. Now that I can almost type again without pain I have some serious exorcising of character voices from my head to do. They’re keeping me up at night.

Pass the laptop.