Thursday, 15 November 2007

NZ Book Month: Blog 2

I don't think I ever realised how important the weekly meet-ups are. The first time I did NaNoWriMo, I didn't attend any meet-ups because there were none in my area; but the excitement of writing my first novel kept me going that year. I started late, pounded out thousands of words in a burst of enthusiasm, lost all hope about Week 3, missed a few days, skipped a boring chapter or two to get to the end and finished triumphant on November 25, astonishing every single one of my friends and family.

Your second NaNoWriMo is meant to be the hardest, because you've lost that initial enthusiasm and can-I-really-do-this spirit. I did find it harder, but still finished, no problems. My third and fourth years flew by with varying problems but consistent success; and I started looking forward to this year, my fifth.

Honestly, I really can't be bothered any more. I ask myself what the point is, why I'm doing this? I already know I can do it, what am I proving now? Wouldn't my time be better spent working on the unfinished manuscripts I already have? Is it really sensible to do this in a month where I already have so much other stuff going on?

Because of exams, I've actually barely started yet. Exams have to take priority; so I wrote my opening sentence – nine words – on the first of the month, and thereafter focused on exams until they were over. Now, finally, they're all done, but I just can't get stuck into my novel.

Then it occurred to me I haven't been to any meet-ups this month. I went to the pre-November meet-up, but couldn't make the next two due to exams and family responsibilities. (Thankfully, Angela – my unofficial co-coordinator – stood in for me on both occasions!) But it's usually the meet-ups that really energise me and motivate me. It's talking to other people going through the same thing that reminds me I can do this, that at some stage we all hate our novels, that the point is to challenge yourself and your creativity to see if you can get out yet another novel, even on top of the stresses of exams, work and daily life in general. It's a support group, I guess – and I need some of that support.

It's generally agreed that 1667 words a day is a huge number to expect anyone to write. My added challenge this year is that I haven't even properly started yet. At time of writing, my "novel" is 363 words long. This blog entry is longer than that! It also means that, to finish on time, I'll need to write over 3000 words a day to finish my NaNoWriMo. To be fair, I did the same last year – but last year my last exam was on 6 November, so I only started a week late. This year, half the month's already over.

Does that mean I'm giving up? Nahhh. It just makes it more of a challenge. And it means that – in my present uninspired state of mind – I'm really going to be needing that meet-up on Saturday.

Now I need to get back to my novel, and setting myself incredibly high goals... let's see if I can have 5000 words by the end of the day. Why not?