Nearly the end of October…

Which can only mean one thing…National Novel Writing Month

It’s that NaNoWriMo time of year. Time to push ahead into the land of seat-of-pants writing with nary a glance backwards at the chaos and destruction you’ve left in your wake. Re-read what you did yesterday? Pah! That’s just for wimps. Not on this draft. The 1st exuberant imperfection draft is all about wringing out a minimum of 1667 words every single goddamn day until midnight on 30th Nov and laughing in the face of structure, narrative drive, character development, transparent prose and… Wait a minute. I’d actually quite like to include all those things…

But that’s not what NaNoWriMo is all about.

What NaNoWriMo and the art of pressing on regardless IS all about is getting you over a block or a lack of confidence, and keep your bum in the chair, your fingers whizzing over the keyboard and keep the words flowing. NaNoWriMo gives you a deadline, which in turn gives you motivation and momentum. And what it should also enable you to do is muzzle that diabolical enemy of every creative sort – the inner critic. Sure you’ll need perspective and distance and judgement and a freshly-sharpened blue pencil to make what you’ve written BETTER. But for the month of November, that inner critic, that killjoy, partypooper and general all round cold-water-pourer can take a back seat (or preferably be locked away in the boot while the car is driven off a cliff).

I’m struggling with a WIP at the moment, it’s just the first draft, I know, but I cannot shut my inner editor up. I’ve even scrawled “FIRST DRAFTS ARE MEANT TO BE CRAP” on the whiteboard where I usually fashion my outline, but it hasn’t helped. The snarky, sniping bastard just won’t shut up.

So I’m hoping, come Tuesday November 1st, NaNoWriMo will work its annual magic and help me bundle the bloody thing in a garden shed, secure the padlock and throw away the key.

If you’ve ever thought you have a novel inside you, it might just be time to purge it. Lance that creative boil, and by the 1st December, you’ll feel a whole lot better. Exhausted, but immeasurably better. Why not get over to NaNoWriMo right now, register and maybe even donate a little something to keep them going for another year.

Happy typing!


Third drafting

After the encouraging critique from Sophie Hannah (and an exhausting 3 weeks in NYC) I am now rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in to the 3rd draft of The Loyal Servant. Like all large objects, the 120k manuscript has a lot of associated inertia, but hopefully I’ll get the momentum going and after a couple of days there’ll be no stopping the editing process.