Friday, November 5, 2010

No No WriMo

Many writerly blogs are a bit on the quiet side at the moment as many people take part in the annual writing marathon known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The idea of this is to write, from scratch, a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November.

It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be there.

The month is an orgy of speed writing, never mind the quality feel the word count, and endless angst over targets and shortfalls. Progress counters sprout like mushrooms in the blogoshpere.

No, before you ask, I'm not doing it.

Real life is intruding way too heavily on my writing time these days to even think about that kind of output. Actually, I think that time is not so much the problem as energy.

Cutbacks at work over the last year have left my division barely able to sustain day to day operations. On top of that we have added workload imposed from above in the form of reorganisations, new planning processes, massive projects to deliver new political initiatives, and wholesale office moves to consolidate space to allow building leases to be given up.

People can only sustain that pace of work for a limited time. We've been keeping it up without relief and without an end in sight for over a year. Everybody acknowledges that it's a problem. Nobody is offering any practical answers.

I've been holding a cold at bay for the last month on a blend of Benylin and adrenalin. I came home this evening and promptly fell asleep.

Writing is a mentally demanding activity. When I'm in the groove, words flow smoothly for a while, but only after I've invested the mental gruntwork to envisage clearly what I'm trying to write.

At the moment, that is out of the question. The best I can hope for is to peck away more at revising Ghosts and maybe start putting chapters up for critique.

It feels a bit like watching the London marathon, seeing all those people braver than me pounding the course, and feeling their pain.

So...from the sidelines...NaNoWriters, I salute you!


  1. I'm not a NaNo writer, although I did just start my novel at the end of last month. But I've already explained to you why that's not for me. I keep to my own goals and word counts, thank you. :)

    But, yes, I admire those who are participating this month. More power to you!

    I hear you, Ian. Writing can be so exhausting, and you really do need to be in the proper frame of mind to sustain it day in and day out in order to craft a novel. I wish you the best of luck and hope that things get a little easier for you on both the work and cold fronts. Hang in there!

  2. Wow. I really admire that kind of commitment-and the kind of really serious concentration it takes to write something like that. I'm way too flighty for that sort of thing. Sounds like work is a bad scene right now eh? I really hope something is done to improve that situation soon-and I hope you feel better! :)

  3. Hi Ian,
    I've noted a lot of bloggers are into this NaNo writing. It must take a lot of dedication that I certainly don't have. Much respect to them for their determination.
    Here's hoping you feel better, soon, and that you write when you are comfortable to do so. Happy writing and all the best.
    Have a peaceful and pleasant weekend.
    With respect and good wishes, Gary.

  4. Thanks all. This cold has been lurking for ages, trying to break out whenever I'm most vulnerable. I think it'll be with me a while longer. I'd say that work is more like constant high-energy output than overly stressful, but that is only because I've been fairly successful (so far) at containing it and keeping it in perspective.

    Yes, Gary, I write when I'm ready to do so. I'm with David on that front. I managed to average about 500 words a day for nearly six months when I bashed out my first novel, but that is about 1/3 the pace of the NaNo diehards. You are right, Sam, it is a huge commitment.

  5. If everyone did NaNo, we wouldn't have any cheerleaders. Not to mention, the blogosphere would be overloaded with NaNospeak.

    Thank you for providing alternate content during November. :)

    Hope you defeat that cold soon!

  6. Hi Jean. Glad to hear I have my uses - few and far between though they may be ;)

    Alternate content shall continue.


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