Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Oh no - NaNoWriMo! By Annie Try

Day 8 of NaNoWriMo.  For anyone who doesn't know about this, it is briefly described as a month of writing like crazy to produce 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel. It is named National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November.  The name is wrong, of course, probably born out of a grandiose scheme to stretch to a national organisation. But the organisers were short-sighted - the idea caught on and is now international with writers taking part across the world.

     I am undertaking it this year because I am too busy to write - which sounds ridiculous.  But busyness consumes me and freezes me into inactivity when I am tired, so that I achieve nothing in my writing.  Therefore my work-in-progress has been shoved in a corner and stayed there, blocked in, while I attend to the mass of things that the inner director in me says are more important.

     But if God has urged me to write, then I must do so.  Also, you cannot have a chair of ACW who never writes - that's another ridiculous idea.  So I have sharpened my wits and pencils, tidied my neglected study so that I can get into it, bought a laptop that works, signed up for all the encouragement I can receive and the magical charts to record my word count, set up my work with the title 'Red Cabbage Blue Part 2' and started on the rest of my WiP.
     Day 1 went well, only 1,167 words short of the target for the day!  Day 2 - I caught up a bit but not enough, Day 3 - well this day must have fallen off the calendar as there is no record. Day 4 - I began to be enthusiastic, Day 5 - I wrote for three hours, Day 6 -oh dear, I couldn't get a decent signal on the train to receive my novel from my emails so I wrote a random 500 words which probably will not appear in the final version. By then I was resenting having to write, coming home on a very delayed train thinking, 'Oh no, I need to do more writing for NaNoWriMo.'  Which brings us to today (yesterday by the time you read this).  I have managed a little bit of catch-up, but am yet to see my recorded data touch the line that streaks up the chart to show the ideal progress.  I am not so sure I will gain a certificate of success this year.

     Most of today's work has been writing up the research undertaken some months ago.  I have written it in the voice of my character.  This has worked remarkably well and what I originally thought would be a sneaky way of putting words to paper has proved very productive as I sieved out what my character would write and how she would express it.  She has become more rounded as I have given her the task of interpreting what she has found and used language she would use.  I'm trying not to give away spoilers here, but will tell you that she is into interior design so has a keen eye for colour.  Therefore, some of today's writing reminds me of a task I was given when on a residential teaching week at Lumb Bank. This Arvon writing retreat is on a very steep hill and across the valley the slope is covered with a pine forest.  Nothing else.  The task was to describe the slope at some length and in some depth without using the word 'green'.  Some of the descriptions were a little contrived - it was probably the first time I had heard the phrase 'a swathe of emerald conifers'.

     So you can see that NaNoWriMo has worked its magic and is making me think about my writing and, what's more, to get that first draft down.  I completed the challenge in 2014, then edited it many times until it was shaped to my satisfaction, ready to find a publisher.  This is now the first of the Dr Mike Lewis stories published by Instant Apostle.  If I can do it, anyone can!

     It's not too late to join in with Nanowrimo if you want to, but I advise you to set your own target for every remaining day or you may feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.  Leave the gaining of a certificate to another year!

Annie Try is the pen-name of Angela Hobday, Chair of the Association of Christian Writers.  She has three published novels, the first, Losing Face, being written for young adults.  She is now writing about the clients and life of Dr Mike Lewis, Clinical Psychologist.  Trying to Fly and Out of Silence are both available through Christian bookshops, online and from the publisher, Instant Apostle.  Red Cabbage Blue may be out sometime, if she ever finishes it, completes around thirty edits and persuades her publisher that it will sell.


  1. I did NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago and although I didn't finish I did end up with 50,000 words which became a novel in the end. Those 50,000 words were much, much more than I'd have done had I not done NaNoWriMo. I am currently doing NaNoWaiMo (when you spend November waiting for responses from agents and publishers).

  2. Ooooh exciting Angela! Go girl. Is Red Cabbage Blue another Dr Mike Lewis book? Or a stand-alone? Either way, I'm looking forward to reading it at some point in the future. x