Wednesday, 31 October 2007

NZ Book Month: Blog 1

It's 8.30pm and already I'm exhausted. That might have something to do with my exam earlier today, but it might also have something to do with NaNoWriMo. In fact, when I realised at the start of September that NaNoWriMo was coming up yet again, I felt exhausted at the mere thought of another month of stress and sleep-deprivation.

That didn't stop me from signing up for my fifth year of NaNoWriMo, of course. Or from volunteering to be Palmerston North's regional coordinator for the third year in a row. I think the appropriate term here would be "sucker for punishment". At least I was organised this year, though. I decided on a setting, drafted a plot, created some characters.

Then a few days ago, I decided my idea was boring, so I've scrapped everything except the setting (New Zealand… and even then, I might still decide to scrap it), and now it's back to the drawing-board. I don't view this as a particular drawback – I've often started November with no idea of what to write, but the need to meet those 1667 words a day always pushes me to write SOMETHING, and along the way I gradually plan out the plot. Often huge plot-holes develop because of this, but all that means is that I need to go back and add extra scenes to explain them away – which just means more words.

We had our first kick-off event on Saturday, the last weekend before we're plunged into a month of mayhem – the kick-off event was great, and I got home really psyched up for November, far more so than I had been before the meet-up. It's always great to talk with other participants, discuss each other's plots, laugh at silly stories, get help with ideas – and of course, just meeting other people with similar interests is always a good thing. Because we're all into writing, most of us enjoy reading, so there's always something to talk about with our favourite authors, new books to recommend each other, and so on.

I'm really worried about November, but my upcoming exams are worrying me more than NaNoWriMo. It'll be a crazy adventure – it always is. I'll miss out on sleep and skip entire days of writing and then have days where I write 5,000 words in one go (between cups of coffee), and I'll meet new people and make up crazy plots and laugh at myself and stretch my ingenuity and creativity to their absolute limits. That's always what it's like, more or less, and exams this year only make it more of a challenge. No matter how often I've done it, there are always new challenges to overcome; other time commitments to work around; the question of whether I can do it again this year.

But that's why we have instant meals these days, and that's why our minds stretch the more we push them. Yes, it's 8.30pm and I'm tired already; and as November crashes in on me, I'll probably get more tired still. But it's so much fun, the people are so great, and having that finished manuscript is SUCH an excellent feeling – I can't wait for November to get here.

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