This time last year was around the time that I told myself “You’re gonna write a novel. And you can do most of the first draft during National Novel Writing Month.”
Oh, how naïve I was. It was at this same time that we planned to rip out our kitchen and fit a new one, and not once did my brain realise, while planning either the kitchen design or the novel, that it would be pretty tough to write 50,000 words in the same month as taking on a mammoth DIY project.
I began NaNoWriMo with best intentions; the first couple of days, fuelled by wine, I wrote several thousand words and felt very chuffed with myself. It wasn’t long before I lost momentum, though. It’s hard to adhere to a writing schedule when you’re living with a half-built kitchen and are spending more time at B&Q than the people who work there. So I failed. Monstrously. I wrote a measly 11,020 words in the entire month.
Nonetheless, I kept on writing long after November and into the new year. I finished the first draft of my novel in around February this year and I’m currently working on draft number three. My word count stands at around 72,000 – i.e. long enough to be a real novel! – and I’m hoping that by early 2018 it will be ready to query, which is a terrifying and exhilarating thought.
If I hadn’t been stupid enough to think NaNoWriMo was achievable for me last year, I may never have started this novel. Instead, I would probably have thought about writing it for a very long time, without actually doing so. Furthermore, my four year-long writing slump would have probably turned into a five year-long writing slump. Instead, I’ve given myself the kick up the arse I needed to start writing stories again. And I really, bloody love it.
So, if anyone out there is wondering whether to take on NaNoWriMo, my advice is go for it, even if you are planning on ripping out your kitchen. You might well fail, but who cares? It’s starting that’s important.