NaNoWriMo: End of Week 1

silver pen on white paper
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

One week down, three to go. On track with a comfortable buffer for wordcount, and practically have a PhD in canal boat lavatory facilities (anyone for a pound of mashed up Dundee cake?) 

Blitz spirit

It’s the shared suffering of fellow authors that gets you through an ordeal like NaNoWriMo. To give you a sense of the inspiration and motivation passed along the email chain over the past 24 hours:

  • I’m just plodding along
  • I’m still staring at a blank screen.
  • I’m typing with eyes barely open now
  • I have written nothing today
  • Will I continue? Getting harder
  • I’m starting to flag

Split schedule

This year I’ve stumbled across a schedule that’s a perfect fit for a night owl:

1. Write 1,000 words for the next day after midnight (at a good pace, this can be done by 1am-2am).

2. Write the next 1,000 words over the following day

You then get a nice break between when you finish that, and waiting for the clock hand to tick over to midnight. My two-thousandth-word was written at 10.30pm today, so I’m writing this blog while watching a Pre-Code film on YouTube.

Sleep deprivation

An increasing sleep debt can be weirdly creative as your mind starts to hallucinate. Characters come into your head as you fall asleep. They start holding lengthy and eloquent conversations amongst themselves, revealing great tranches of juicy plot. Unfortunately, much like Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill Sonata”, it has all evaporated by the morning.

One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain!

That’s where the likeness ends, because Tartini still managed to cobble together the “best music I ever wrote”. But if what’s being tapped out on my keyboard this month is the “best novel I ever wrote”, it’s probably time to give up novel writing.