I don't think I ever talked about how NaNoWriMo went last year. I mean, I talked about it while I was in the midst of it, but did I ever say how it ended?
It was amazing. As you know if you were reading back then, I'd wanted to take part in National Novel Writing Month for years. Finally -- thanks in large part to the prompting of the ever-inspirational Laura -- it happened, and I couldn't have loved it more. I was genuinely rather terrified about the whole experience (not least because I think I got the beginnings of a plot idea like one week before start date? It was so sketchy!). I'm not a fan of failure and if I was going to do it I really wanted it to actually happen. Well I got there -- I got to 50,000 words on the very last day or perhaps the last-day-eve of November -- and I had thought prior that I'd be limping to the finish line if I got there at all. Not so -- which is the part I was so excited about. I reached the word count and there were still words left in me and I didn't hate it and I hadn't had too many moments of staring at a blank screen in the wee small hours while my retinas burned out. There were definitely moments when I was like, WHA? WHAT IS THIS STORY? And there were times when I wrote the most melodramatic waffle just to keep my fingers moving over the keys. But one of the best tricks was one that Laura (again) put me onto: word sprints. Set the timer for ten or fifteen minutes, and write like crazy for that time. Add a word count goal (try five hundred words in fifteen minutes!) for extra pressure. It sounds simplistic, but I'd never written faster in my life. Since NaNoWriMo, I've tried the technique at other times when the writing is lagging but I need to get some words out quickly. It's quite the miracle.
"Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?" my mum asked, as we drove somewhere together yesterday.
"I'd like to," I replied, "but I'm doing DanoWriMo instead."
"Oh, good!" she replied. She took her eyes off the road for a sec to glance at me. "Is it good?"
"Oh, DanoWriMo is where I spend a month writing Hawaii Five-O fanfiction. You know. 'Book 'em, Danno.'?"
She frowned at me.
"Just kidding," I said. "It's Danielle Writing Month. Basically, I'm going to write a lot but on a lot of different projects."
And who'd have thought? That answer was so much more satisfying for my mother.
One of the reasons I've relished postgrad studies is because I'm forced to write on a lot of different topics and to deadline, but one of the things I hate about it is that it sucks my soul dry of any other writing time or headspace. With uni on hold between semesters, my goal is to dip into some unfinished writing projects, to submit to some places, and to get back into the swing of writing the stuff I can't get out of my head.
So here's to DanoWriMo! You folks can keep me accountable and ask me pointed questions when you see me, about whether I've written at all in the last twenty-four hours, or whether I followed up that invitation to submit. In the meantime, how can I cheer you on? Who's doing NaNoWriMo this year?