I have been trying to write a novel for years, which is to say trying to write several aborted novels since I was about 14. I still have reams of A4 pages in loose binders that have followed me around where ever I have lived for the past 32 years or so, steadily growing in size as time has gone by , until about 15 years ago when I started using word processors and stopped printing them off. I started on my dads only non-electric typewriter. Hacking out words then screwing up pages or using liberal amounts of tipex.
Over the years I have tried to write all kinds of things, from the near compulsory fantasy epic I started at 14 and typed out slowly and very very badly. (needless to say it was awful) to comic science fiction on my old amiga 500 which if nothing else made me laugh , but sadly no one else . The earlier fantasy epic had a wonderfully unintended gag in it where a warriors sword, strapped across his back kept clanking on his breast plate… oh the mirth . It never occurred to my much younger self , that the plate at the back was called a back plate ……..
Time has gone by , along with relationships , the discovery of beer, fatherhood, addiction to computer games, further addiction to world of warcraft. And I have kept on writing in fits and starts and never got very far. Sometimes I will have a huge wave of enthusiasm for a few months and start a new project which I know will come to fruition. But somewhere , somehow , something gets in the way.
Every year I have intended to do the November write a book challenge +http://nanowrimo.org/ and every year work goes its normal pre-christmas rush and it’s the one time of year I have the least time. The simple plan of writing with a bunch of others to act as a support and encouragement network appealed , but mostly the write to a time frame come hell or high water be done by the 30th of the month, as a challenge and an aid to block procrastination appealed.
So this year, I turned over a new leaf, and made an attempt to try and write 1000 words a day, everyday on something, be it a short story, part of a larger project, or just a few ideas which never really become anything other than a descriptive piece. It sort of worked , and at the same time didn’t . but I kept trying to plug away at it before I had a moment of clarity. November can just as easily start on the 15th of June .
So from a restless night of ideas washing over me as they do, several mind map characters of the bare bones of a story and character sketches , I launched November early. Gave myself 30 days and slung myself at a new project .
I ignored my normal tendency to fantasy and science fiction, and went for a straight forward none genre novel . because I had half an idea , and half another one, and because it avoided the pitfall of writing in my preferred reading matter and writing something I have read before.
I stripped away a lot of other tendency of mine. Rather than edit as I went along I just fired away writing, word count been everything , a target of 50000 words and daily updates to my Facebook friends to lobby encouragement became a mantra. Changing all my writing habits which had become so easy to procrastinate from. No in progress editing, no 1000 words a day and then stop, and just keep aiming for the word count.
In the end draft one ran in at 72000 words. And was completed with three days to spare, and I woke up the morning after completing it and realised I had written a novel . Actually completed it . Start to finish. I was , it has to be said , shocked .
I then had to face a whole new challenge , that of draft 2…………..
Anyway , the point of this post is a piece of advice , that been , keep plugging , change habits that are stale , and remember remember November can start in June ……..