I’ll start off with a brief introduction to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. This is an online-based (and somewhat offline) writing event that’s aimed to inspire and push writers to churn out at least 50,000 words for a novel. It happens every November internationally, bringing together aspiring writers of every background, spanning every genre. You can join online forums for your home region which pass along useful tips and information, as well as organise local “write-ins”. These get a group of writers together in person to network and share tips.
I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time last year, finally completing a first draft of the story I’ve had in my head since primary school, and had started so many evolutions of. It was the push I needed to get the idea out and into written form, encouraging the spokes of my brain to turn a little faster in figuring out twists and where my story was truly headed.
Sadly, I haven’t really touched the first draft since. In honesty, I think it scares me a little because I want to get it to an agent and sent off for “official publication”. Having joined so many writer’s pages on Facebook, I see how rejection looks, and I just don’t think I’m ready for that. Although it’s a long way off, I’ve just chucked myself down at the second hurdle rather than try to complete the race.
So, why am I taking part in NaNoWriMo this year if I’ve done nothing with the material I wrote last year? I’m stepping out of my comfort zone massively next month, and it’s only really begun to sink in just how much. The genre I write, and mostly prefer to read, is sci-fi/fantasy (I like escaping). I’m hoping the new project will refresh my stale mind and, once this new draft is completed, will put me in a better mindset for completing the project I actually want to finish. I’m also planning to put this new project out, self-published, to test the waters.
I had considered this idea a few months back but dismissed it, failing to believe why anyone would read it. But then a colleague at work put the same suggestion forward, and here we are. My NaNoWriMo project this month will be a tell-all about my online dating experience for the last 18 months. *sigh* Yes, that’s not a typo, 1-8 months, eighteen months. I could tell you more about those 18 months here, but you should really wait for the book.
The gravity of what I’d actually committed to sunk in (like a dagger in my chest), when I wrote down the list of names*. I realised that each name on that list brings a dreaded opportunity for me to re-live those experiences. I’ve also agreed to attend write-ins this year as the Municipal Liaisons (known as MLs, leading, for want of a better word, the local forums and groups) will be trying to arrange some for Dereham. Last year I could escape under the excuse that Norwich was too far and too inconvenient. Therefore, I will be re-living my dating experiences in front of other people. I’ll hold my hands up; I’m an emotional person. There’s going to be tears.
Spoiler alert: none of the names on the list work out well.
To help give the project a bit of a foundation, outside my own opinion, I put together a survey to ascertain general views on dating and relationships. If you’ve got a spare few minutes, you can take the survey here.
I should clarify that this shouldn’t be taken as an opportunity to rant about your current relationship, as one respondent has. I think you should probably be having that discussion with your partner, not on an anonymous survey.
Are you hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo next month? Let me know!
* Just in case any of you see this, your real names won’t be given in the book.