This is the second year in a row that I’ve signed up for the National Novel Writing Month Challenge. Last year, I quit after just a couple of days and a few thousand words. It was just too much to manage with a full-time job that demanded my creative energy. This year, my job conveniently ended on October 28 so I no longer have any excuse to not participate.
On the second day of the challenge I attended a local writing meet up at a cafe in one of the libraries at the University of Toronto. It became clear to me pretty quickly that I didn’t fit in. First of all the cafe was really noisy – I like peace and quiet when I write. Then there were the other participants – all nice people I am sure, but most of them where fantasy writers. I have nothing against fantasy really, but I read and try to write literary fiction. Every twenty minutes or so, one of the participants would try to initiate a “word war” – a challenge to see how many words could be written in a given time frame. That just isn’t how I write. After a while, I put in my earbuds and tuned them out – not very social of me.
The concept of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The emphasis is on the number of words, not the quality. I’ve been working on a novel on and off for several years now. I’ve written about 20,000 words, but most of them aren’t very good. That is why I want to concentrate on completing a first draft of this novel over the next couple of months. So, I’m not sure that writing 50,000 more words in a hurry will actually help me complete a usable first draft.
I will continue writing, but I will concentrate on writing well. Of course, the first draft isn’t meant to be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be rubbish either.