The clatter of keys grows silent. November is over and NaNoWriMo is at an end. A typhoon of tortured tales grows still, their limp and pallid forms lie mewling on the dusty ground, their hurried and unnatural births now over. Deadlines and targets are a thing of the past. Some will be counting themselves as winners, having managed to put together 50,000 words. other will count themselves as losers, having fallen short of that lofty goal. I however, have been up to other things. Spending my evening in quiet contemplation, making soup and watching sci-fi from the early 2000s. When it comes to NaNoWriMo the distinction between winner and losers is at best moot and at worst erroneous. I learnt long ago, that the only winning move, is not to play.
Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo
November’s Pictonaut Challenge
The ghost have been blown away on the wind, the bats are back in their roosts, the vampires are safely stowed away in their coffins and the skellingtons have been packed back into their closets. Now it is November, a time of flame, fireworks and dangerously large amounts of writing. Yes, once again NaNoWriMo rears its bestial and hoary head from the wordy loam in which it has slumbered. It has let outs its keening howl to call writers to arms. It is a call which I have once again responded with: “No! Not again! You can’t make me!” Once is enough. I turned my will upon the task and triumphed once. never again, I am not strong enough to survive another attempt and the looming spectre of possible failure.
That is not to say I won’t be writing in November, I am always writing. It is required. It is mandatory. The Pictonaut Challenge is so much easier to manage, and requires a much, much smaller investment of time. Should you feel that NaNoWriMo might be just a little bit too arduous a task, then you should join me, join me in exploring the wonders and mysteries of “Midnight Freight.“
It’s getting to that time of year again. The time when people all around the world abandon all semblance of reason and common sense and decided that it’d be a thoroughly great idea to lock themselves away for a month and write an entire book. 50, 000 words in 30 days. An average of 1666.67 words a day for a while month. It’s something that I recommend that everyone tries at least once, just to see if they can. I tried it last year and managed to “win” with a whole 6 days left to spare. It made me feel like a god, albeit a fairly minor one with a very, very narrow divine portfolio. It also left me exhausted and wanting to hide under a rock and cry for a bit. It was one of those experiences. And then a year rolled round and I found myself looking at an on rushing November and having to make a choice. To NaNoWriMo, or Not the NaNoWrimo.
Thus ends the turbulent non-month that is November. A great many things have happened this month, most of them perpetrated by fools. Be it the mustachioed madness of Movember, where hordes of hapless men grow their itchy face hair because suddenly prostate cancer is cool. Or alternatively the insanely optimistic troops of NaNoWriMo and their slog to an arbitrarily defined target.
I was one of these fools. I chose NaNoWriMo because it provided a challenge, it was productive, artsy, enriching and also because I can’t really grow a moustache. (I “won” in the end. I was very happy.) But despite all the hectic dashing about and the hurly-burly of this, that and the other, Pictonauts was still rumbling away in the background. Not the rumble of a mighty volcano fit to shower the surrounding locales with hot, steamy lava. More the rumbling of an empty tummy, or slightly cross cat. Continue reading
Onslaught III: Death Knell
This will be my last post on the topic of NaNoWriMo for this year, as last night, when the sun had gone to bed and the fingers of frost were clawing at my window I did what I had long thought impossible. I finished.
Well I say finished. More accurately I passed the 50,000 word mark. The titanic wordascope that I have been plugging away at all November is by no means ‘finished’. Those fifty thousand words in their extant form consist of a prologue, chapters 1 to 10 and the finishing chapter, number 29. Nineteen chapters that were planned sit in an unwritten limbo. I have a beginning, I have an end, but the middle? That’s not even started yet. Continue reading
Onslaught II: The Soul Crushing Apathy
Oh how much of a difference a week makes. What had been a fairly mundane demand of 1667 words a day has now become an uphill struggle, a real slog through a treacley sea of shitty words.
I’m still on the NaNo wagon for now, but how much longer I can hang on I’m not entirely sure. I’d say I’m getting pretty close to burn out. Which would be slightly frustrating, especially with about 31,500 words under my belt. I thought at passing 25k I was over the hump and it’d be a nice downhill slope to the finish line. Nope, turns out it was just a slight flattening before another big hill. Arse.
Tuesday saw the start of my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. I have now been slogging away at it for almost five days. I’m honestly not entirely sure who I am any more, nor what I have become. I have a strange nagging feeling that there is something akin to unholy witchcraft about the entire concept of NaNoWriMo. There’s no pressure to perform, no real demands, only a vague nebulous challenge of “oh go on, just see if you can hit 50,000 words by the end of this month. If you can’t do it that no one’s going to think less of you. We’re all friends here.” It’s insidious and sneaky. I just simply cannot stop writing. It’s an urge that’s gotten under my skin, it’s a contagious disease spreading across the blogosphere and the internet. There is no cure, there is only success or failure.
November’s Pictonaut Challenge
So November is upon us. I’ve never been entirely sure about the month of November. It’s a distinctly unremarkable month as months go. There’s no major festivals or celebrations. Sure there’s Bonfire night, which has fireworks and we all love fireworks I’m sure. But at the end of the day that, unlike July the 4th or Bastille day, isn’t about throwing off [perceived] shackles of oppression and embracing the glories of freedom. It’s essentially a celebration of one man’s complete and resounding failure to achieve just that. It is a testament and historical memorial to shoddy workmanship, poor planning and the inability of some people to just keep their mouths shut. My friend Mick goes as far to swear November to be a foul and cursed month, frequently espousing declarations of “nothing good happens in November.” But we get fireworks, large fires and jacket tetties wrapped in tin-foil and baked in the untempered fury of a ten foot high pile of blazing wood, so at the end of the day who gives a shit, we’re all happy. Except Guy Fawkes of course, damn he got a right going over.
So musings on the nature of the November beast aside, there are a few things happening this month which are worthy of note.
Cometh the Hour…
…Cometh the blind irrational panic.
It’s just over a week until the start of the slogfest that is NaNoWriMo and I must confess I’m slightly nervous. From a logical standpoint it seems easy enough. 1667 words a day you say? I know I’m easily capable of knocking out that many words in about half and hour. So logically I should be able to complete the entire thing in one 17 hour stint. The problem is however, that logic, is bullshit. Like many a perfect mathematical system constructed for scientific purposes it ignore several factors which twist and warp the result into something far, far different. In this instance it’s piddly little things like the need to sleep, eat, and occasionally re-equilibrate fluid levels. That and the ever threatening claws of The Funk, waiting to pounce on my unsuspecting creativity. At the opposite end of the spectrum from the glories of 55 words/minute, is the situation I frequently find myself in, where I have no idea where I’m heading, no idea what I want to write, or what words to use. A time where it can take as long as three hours just to force out 50 poxy words. This is what fuels my dread at the prospect of this undertaking.
A Relentless Torrent of Verbiage
Earlier this week I came to a decision, quite possibly a very foolish decision. I have decided, after much humming and harring, that this will be the first year I tackle the daunting behemoth that is NaNoWriMo. I have for many years had the intention of participating, but this is an intention I normally don’t remember until sometime around November 28th, but which point it’s a little bit on the late side, unless you’re the sort of madman (or madwoman, let’s not judge here) willing to write a minimum of 18 words every minute for 48 hours without a break of any form. I am not one of those types of madman, I am a completely different, but no less mad, type of madman. I do think that I am now in a better position to attempt it than I ever have been. Previously I’ve had trifling concerns like that degree thing I was paying several thousand pounds a year to do, or a job which demand I work 45 hour weeks and spend the remaining 67 hours, where I wasn’t asleep, gibbering in the corner. On top of that there was the pesky demands of being surrounded by people who did not consider “hermit” to be a valid life choice. And that despite being several miles away, through rain, sleet or snow, as well as being significantly more expensive, a pub, and not your bedroom was the best place to get drunk. Now I’m a graduate, with a fairly sane job, living in a strange and bewildering place where I know precisely no one.
It probably also helps that I’ve actually got an idea this year too.