I’ve had an intense couple of weeks trying to write a 50,000 draft novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), writing around 1000-3000 words a day, mostly in the evening when the children are in bed. At a tad over 43,000 words I’m not far from the finish line, but the plot is kind of petering out lamely (is that a tautology?).
(Yes, I know the picture above shows less words than that. I started this blog post yesterday, finishing it today!)
The novel I’m writing is an apocalyptic/road trip/friendship/love kind of story which I’m making up as I go along.
My husband, when I told him how the story was playing out, said it reminded him of I Am Legend, the movie which starred Will Smith, but when I googled it to remind myself of the movie’s story line, it’s quite different to mine. I’m not sure how I’m going to wrap it all up.
It was lot of fun to start it off and the first 20,000 or so words were a blast to write but I am very glad it’s nearly over now. No one will be reading it, at least not in this form, but it will feel great to be able to say that I’ve done it.
Mainly it was a great experience in starting something big and just pushing through to finish it, which is something I’ve lacked practice in for a while (if you don’t count giving birth or moving house, that is).
This is the main reason I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time. I just wanted to have something within a month that I could say I’d done, and a habit I’d started (ie. writing every single day). I’m not a fiction writer although I have flirted with the idea of writing some fiction, drafting a children’s book and some short stories.
At the same time I’ve taken up walking most days, in the evenings when my husband gets home. I go by myself or with my eldest daughter and stride up and down the hills around our place.
Ostensibly it’s a great time to think, but mostly I don’t think much at all. I’m just walking, occasionally praying, but mainly noticing things like the bark peeling from the gum trees in large shards, the quiet sunsets, the scent of pine in the street behind ours after a warm, heavy rainfall, the feel of certain streets, the other walkers and their partners/children/dogs.
I’ve noticed that the people who walk are all very different from each other, while the ones who jog all look remarkably the same.
It’s been really great.The main thing I’ve learnt from this month is that although I always feel stretched for time I do in fact have a bit of time to do certain things I wish to do, like maybe even write a decent book. It’s about how I choose to spend my time, in particular how I prioritise the things I do.
The house, for instance, is a bit dirtier than usual but it’s not so bad I couldn’t whip it into shape pretty quickly if I had to. I’ve done a bit of freelance work. I haven’t kept up with social media, but I have been able to read a novel this month (Out Of My Mind by Sharon Draper, pre-teenage fiction, very good).
And a supportive husband is crucial too of course.
So writing and walking, that’s how I’ve spent much of my November. I hope to continue them, maybe not the writing so intensely, into December and also start something different. Advent is coming….