50,000 words in a month – are you joking? (Musings about #NaNo)

You’ve possibly heard there’s a little thing happening around the world in November called National Novel Writing Month (referred to in Twitterverse as #NaNoWriMo or just #NaNo).

It’s when writers commit to pumping out 50,000 words in a month. They join up, find buddies, write their butts off and encourage each other.  (Here’s the website: http://www.nanowrimo.org) It’s all about getting writers motivated to find time to do what they love: write.

Last year, I joined in the inaugural Queensland Writers’ Centre Rabbit Hole weekend (where the challenge is 30,000 words in three days), which really helped kick along the first draft of Haze (Rephaim #2). I got down 15,000 words and was pretty happy with that. In the last week, I’ve started to really hit my stride with Rephaim #3 and all the chatter online about NaNo got me thinking it could be just the thing to motivate me to get a huge chunk of the first rough draft done.

I mused about this Twitter, thinking 50,000 words was probably unrealistic – for me anyway, if I wanted them to meaningful in the context of my plot and character arcs.  And then the lovely Mia, blogger at Mia K Rose, called me on it and pointed out that I didn’t have to write 50,000 words, just as many as I could in the month. It was a fair call.

I should probably point out that edits are progressing nicely with Haze and I have a window of time where I can focus on Rephaim #3 (I finally have a working title I like, I’m just not quite ready to share yet in case I change my mind) so the idea getting down even 25,000 words in a month is hugely appealing.

I’m not saying those 25,000 words will be spun gold, but they’ll help me see if the plot is working and give me time to play with characters and scenes. Like many writers, I find the most satisfying part of writing is actually re-writing, so the sooner I get that first rough draft down, the sooner the “real” work can begin.

So, I’ve signed up, got my buddies (Mia, and the wonderful Nomes from Inkcrush) and already had a couple of productive days. My pace will slow as work for the day job demands – my business partner Heather is a huge supporter of my writing, but I’m sure she’ll still be happy to hear I’ll fit in our projects as well. 🙂 But it will be interesting to see how much I can achieve in a month now I’ve made myself publicly accountable.

There have been some great blogs giving advice on how to get the most out of NaNo, one my favourites being from Charmaine Clancy (My Zombie Dog) over at Wagging Tales (although I’ve sort of broke rule #7 by writing this post…).

Right then. Time to get to the day job, so I can then get back to Gaby and Rafa and boost that word count.

To all my fellow NaNo writers: may the muse be with you!

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About Me

I’m the author of the Rephaim series and The Undercurrent.

For my day job, I’m a writer-journalist-professional communicator, where my writing involves a lot less profanity.

I grew up in regional South Australia and now live in the Scenic Rim with my husband and a retired greyhound.

If you’re interested in how I came to land a publishing deal, you can read the short version in this post from August 2011. There’s a longer version (in a guest post) here.

Paula Weston

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