It’s 8 November where I am now, and that means Nanowrimo Week 1 is officially over. I make it a point to try to participate yearly, if for nothing else than it gives me an excuse to write silly things, and this year’s no different.
The circumstances are a little different for me this year though. For one, I’m recovering from myomectomy, a fibroid removal surgery. For another, I am writing this not from my home/work place, but from my mother-in-law’s, so the atmosphere is noticeably different. I also started pretty late this year – usually I try to get some words in on November 1 itself, but I haven’t been able to muster the energy and strength to actually start writing until the 4th.
Which actually turned out to be a good thing. Some things I’ve learnt this week:
- Learning to let go
Despite being a pantser, I tend to have a very specific idea of how words should appear on a page. At an unconscious level, this was me judging myself. I like to be able to turn in clean first drafts, with the idea being that my writing would only need tweaks or that the idea has already been made apparent, with just minimal editing required. There was also the idea that what I wrote is a reflection of who I am as a human being (I know, please laugh with me).
This year’s Nano has taught me otherwise. In its 4,500+ words I’ve written so far, I’ve come to acknowledge my silly biases and honesty to myself. What is coherence? What is linear thought? While I am still a in-sequence writer, I’ve learnt to not question the time skips and jumps and the stereotypical-ness of my writing.
Plus I didn’t expect the idea of whiteness to appear so strongly, so that was a nice surprise.
- A little bit at a time
Thanks to the surgery, it isn’t recommended that I sit for too long periods of time unsupported. The chair where I write has no back, and my stitches do hurt from time to time, so I make it a point to stop and take a break. I also seem to have superficial thrombophlebitis, so the back of my right hand is swollen and hurts when I flex my hands a bit too much.
These enforced breaks, combined with regular eating times, means that when I am at the laptop writing, it is focused writing.
A sprint helps me get started or end the day’s writing session, while the rest of the time is spent percolating over what comes next in the story. It’s already moving at a clip I didn’t expect.
- The new Nanowrimo website is extremely great at catching up
It actually shows the word count you need to achieve that day in order to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, so I no longer need to do the rough maths myself – I can just write according to the amount of words required. Plus I admit, it’s nice to see the chart climb.
- Word counts don’t matter
Ironically, while I am writing to a word count, this year’s more relaxed goals for myself means it’s a nice signpost, but it’s not a must to hit 50,000 words for me. I will admit I’d like to achieve it, but being behind this year and feeling like I missed the boat makes me feel more free compared to before and allows me to do things with my story like inserting descriptions where I want to, and not because I thought it would plump the word count.
I need to cut them and soon, they’re way too long for typing lol.