November, month of words

If anyone out there is doing National Novel Writing Month, then I’d just like to say: good luck, have fun and why are you reading this blog when you could be writing?

I’m not doing it this year, partly because of other commitments – a long weekend away that will take out at least two days of writing just in travelling time plus the imminent arrival of the copy-edits for Guardians of Paradise – but mainly because I’m still waiting on the decision from Higher Powers as to which novel I should write next. I know I should just pick one and go for it, but that has proved easier said than done. 

Thinking about NaNoWriMo has, however, reminded me of my lamentable record at producing anything new recently. Since turning in Guardians at the beginning of July I have written two short-shorts (both dashed off rapidly and both rightfully panned by my faithful critiquers) and the not-so-short-short I was banging on about a couple of weeks back. In all this gives a pitiful total of a little over 12,000 words. I haven’t been entirely idle, as I’ve been revising, submitting short stories, catching up on admin and fleshing out my future history. But still, an average of 3,000 new words a month is, frankly, crap.

I did toy with the idea originally proposed by fellow writer Karen Mahoney, of trying for 30K of new words in November, but I can foresee myself abandoning that target as unrealistic and giving up before we’re two weeks in. So instead, I’ve decided that I will write 20K of first draft this month. Of what, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got a short story idea triggered by my world-building that’s just coming to the boil to start me off. I’ve also got a review to write (not fiction, but still new words), and I might have a shot at the openings for both of the potential next novels just to see what happens. 20K isn’t a lot of words, especially compared to the 54K I managed when I first did NaNoWriMo three (only three?) years ago, but it’s still a big improvement on the last four months.

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