My 84 students are all participating in Young Writers’ NaNoWriMo this month. I hadn’t really intended to do it myself; I have to support my students, after all, but one thing led to another. The support teaching materials are wonderful, and I just couldn’t resist the pull. The biggest challenge is that adult NaNoWriMo participants have to write 50,000 words during November.
This doesn’t really sit well with my writing style. I usually revise as I go, always starting the day’s work by reading the previous day’s work, but when you have to write about 1,700 words per day, you just don’t have time to do that. If every day was a Saturday or Sunday—sure, but I seem to have a lot of Mondays through Fridays in between.
The day before NaNoWriMo started, I realized that I didn’t actually have a plot. I liked my premise, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. We’d discovered in our classes that it was fun to work out what our protagonists’ most basic needs were, using an updated Maslow’s Hierarchy. This had me stumped, and I stewed over this for several days. I didn’t have time to do any planning the night before, either, because a) it was Halloween and b) something possessed me earlier in the day and I decided to make all of my 84 students a little NaNoWriMo Survival Kit. This took about five hours longer than expected and I went to bed exhausted, planless, and just a bit cranky that I hadn’t had the time to do my full witch getup. Poo.
Today it’s the end of Day 4, and I’m on 5057 words. It’s a little under par, but not too much. I’ve learned that the secret to my success to to follow a plan. I’m terrified that at the end of the month I’ll have unusable rubbish, so I’m using every spare minute to think ahead. I learned tonight that there are tons of NaNoWriMo-ers in Hong Kong. Can’t wait to get together for a writing session or two.
Here’s my first sentence:
I’ve been to 179 funerals in three years, and I can tell you that the most alive you will ever be is at your own funeral.
I promise not to write about NaNoWriMo every month.