Sunday, 27 November 2016

The NaNo Rebel, by Lucy Mills


A month can hold strong associations for us - it might be the month of our birthday, or the birthday of a loved one. It might make us think of the season - the 'spring-ness' of May, the 'summer-ness' of August. It might make us think of a period on the church calendar - December, for example, for Advent - although Advent begins today - this is the first Sunday of Advent and we're not even out of November yet!

November, for many writers, has become equated with NaNoWriMo. I've engaged in this a few times, all successfully - somehow that little chart with my increasing word count gives me a boost where nothing else has (hence my saying 'I only write novels in November').

This year, however, I have a non-fiction book to write and that takes priority over any 'novelling'. But I decided to use the NaNo model to help me - to write and add my wordcount in the same way as always, just for this, my commissioned non-fiction book.

I discovered there's a word for this - a badge you can award yourself on the NaNoWriMo dashboard - NaNo Rebel. You can award yourself the NaNo Rebel badge if you are doing anything but writing a novel from scratch in November.

In previous years I've been an 'Old School WriMo', always writing a novel and sometimes not even knowing where it will end. So this time is a little different.

It's been useful. I'm in the throes of creating the first full draft so it's an ideal time for me to write now - and know I will edit later. I've had more significant sessions - last weekend, for example - where I've really holed up with it. At the moment I'm approaching 48,000. If I were novel-writing I would consider this a 'shoe-in', but writing non-fiction I write in splurges and then have pauses for reflection before I can splurge again, so I don't know if I'll hit 50,000 words on Wednesday or not.

I'd like to, but it doesn't matter, as this book is not all about November and I'll be tinkering with it until May. Half those words won't be in the finished product. Others will be - new words, carefully fashioned words that come out of the editing process (the daunting, fiddly part, requiring yet more tea and coffee).

Still, being a NaNo Rebel has helped me absorb myself into it and combine work with play!

What tools could you use to help you with your writing?  Even if it's not their original or intended use, with a bit of 'rebellion' and creativity, you never know what might help!


Lucy Mills

Lucy's first book, Forgetful Heart: remembering God in a distracted world, was published in 2014 (DLT). Undivided Heart: finding meaning and motivation in Christ will be coming in Autumn 2017. Lucy writes articles, poetry and prayers for various publications and is Editorial Co-ordinator at magnet magazine.

Lucy on Twitter: @lucymills
Lucy's Facebook page

More than Writer posts in 2016:

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