NaNo is here! No one panic.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like October just flew by. How can it be November already?! And yet here we are, Day One of NaNoWriMo, and I am HYPE.

It’s fun being in New Zealand on November 1st. You can start hours before anyone else, and being able to update your wordcount while others can only sit by and seethe with jealousy is very entertaining. Of course, there’s a downside: we also finish before everyone else. On years I win, I’m usually filled with enough caffeine and momentum to just keep going once I hit word 47,000 and race towards the finish line, so I tend to finish a day early anyway. Note: just one day early, not two or three; usually I’m scrabbling to make up a deficit in the second half of the month.

Each week of NaNoWriMo has its own charm. Week One, when everyone is excited and filled with Good Intentions (“1667 is easy! I can stop writing now! I’ll just do this every day and I’ll be on target the whole way through!”) and everything is joyous and sunny. People telling each other their wordcounts each day, discussing their ideas, their plots, their triumphs. Week Two, when the shine begins to wear off, and one day off and another day with only half a wordcount done and suddenly you’re behind and scrambling to make up the words while your story flounders and spasms and you start to fear you have made a hideous mistake. Week Three, when the caffeine in your system hits critical mass, your word deficit is painted in foot-high bleeding letters on the inside of your brain and you pound out a few 3000-word days in mad-eyed terror. Week Four, where the finish line is suddenly in sight, and you can do this, you can do this! And momentum is behind you and you fly across the 50,000-word finish line and you are done, and you cackle and run about the house because you did the thing.

“Why would you willingly want to do a thing that gets terrible in the second week and then turns you into a mad person?” Because you’re doing it with a couple of hundred thousand other people, and it all feeds back into itself, and it becomes this fantastic experience of mass creativity. It’s messy and monstrous and magnificent. Together we suffer and we celebrate, we trade word-count tips and commiserate over plot holes and eat too much sugar and it’s good fun, OK, don’t harsh my buzz.

I am 1800 words in, hoping Hemingway was right when he said it is easier to keep going with something the next day if you leave off just before you ran out of steam the night before. There is too much to do tonight, and not many hours left to do it in. I must finish re-reading Hamlet! I must write another 1667 words!

Oh, and I’m sorry if my posts this month are late, or missing, or barely coherent. Month-long novelling can commandeer parts of the brain used for such things as coherency and there’s none left for things like friendly conversations or blog posts. But I shall do my best! Adieu, comrades….! To the keyboards!


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