Well, I did it.
I tried my first official NaNoWriMo in 2012, and failed. I tried again in 2014, and failed. And I tried again in 2015 – and won!
This isn’t just a NaNo victory either. This is the first full-length story I’ve actually finished since … 1996!
So what was different this year?
Well, for a start, I have a very supportive husband who wanted nothing more than for me to start writing again. Properly. And he was happy for me to concentrate on this one project for one month just so I could get it done. Granted, he wouldn’t have minded if I’d managed some other work too, and I did do some paid work. But, basically, not having to worry about where our next meal was coming from was a huge help. And, of course, his belief in me.
The second thing that happened was Scrivener, which helped me immensely in the planning stages of this particular story. I really am a planner and I love gadgetry too, but I was always loathe to spend money on writing software when I have a perfectly adequate word processing program. However, when I saw it on a very special offer, I went for it. And the organisation and the ability to move things around so easily really did help, along with the inbuilt facility to track the words as you write per session as well as per manuscript. This meant I didn’t have to keep stopping to count how many words I’d done.
And finally, I did have a story planned out from start to finish. Yes, the story did deviate from the plan. Yes, I did miss things out. And yes, I did add extra things in. I also changed my mind as I went along. But having an idea for at least 1,667 words per day for 30 days and using the index card system in Scrivener kept me going, even when I could have quite happily taken a day (or three) off.
So several things have helped this year, but I’m making a big deal of it because of the 20-year writing drought as well (apart from short material and anthologies).
Of course, there’s much more hard work to come, but I love the editing and polishing part and find it much easier than the actual original composition. I’ll leave it to cool for a while first, though, shall I? 🙂
We did manage to get out over the weekend. I was on over-the-counter drugs for the trapped nerve in my neck, and while I avoided driving Friday night, we did go on a very short walk not far from where we live. Pictures will hopefully follow later in the week, but it was a very wet, very squally day, and we don’t know how they look until we blow them up on the big screen.
We went to a place called Quakers’ Bottom (do you see a theme here?) and did a walk that was only ¾ of a mile. But it took us 55 minutes because it was so wet, slippery and treacherous underfoot. At one point we had to let the dog off his lead just so he didn’t pull me over.
We found a lovely little hamlet and learned a little of its history and we could have continued on with the 1-mile walk or the 1½-mile walk, but we decided on the shorter version with the weather conditions as they were. We can always go back again and give it another go when conditions have improved.
On Saturday night, Monkey Dust had a gig in Doncaster. They’d already found out via the grapevine that another band was playing before them, but that they’d still be on at 9:30pm. By the time I got there, on the train, at 9:15pm, the other band had only just gone on. And at 10:05pm, they were still up there!
Monkey Dust didn’t get on until about 10:20pm, so they only did one set and played through until 11:45pm. That’s quite a long set, but at least it’s just the one. The bar was quite busy, but there were several televisions placed around the room that showed what was happening on stage. For some strange reason, the poet’s black trousers look white in the picture below …
We got home quite late so had a very late start the next day to see my parents in Birmingham. We didn’t get there until 2pm and it was a horrible drive down. The squally weather was relentless and the high winds, standing water and spray from lorries slowed us right down. I didn’t do any driving, but the poet did and he was very stressed by the time we got there.
Because of the weather, we didn’t want to stay too late, so it was quite a short visit in the end. The weather was a little better coming back but it was gone 6pm and very dark when we did.
He’d left a piece of pork slow-cooking while we were out and he made the rest of our Sunday dinner for 7:30pm. But we could have done with an extra day this weekend.
We now have 2 short weeks on the trot, then we break up in 3 weeks for Christmas. I have a lot to do before then.