23 days in to a 30-day challenge and it can be hard to see the point of it all. When I finally hit day 30, I’m fairly certain that all I’ll have to show for my efforts is a badly-written first draft of half a novel, and a series of prosaic blog-posts that I’ll probably never revisit.
And at day 23, it’s hard to motivate myself to keep going, because I still have a week left to go.
So it is time for a rallying cry.
Why am I doing any of this?
The NaNoWriMo bit of the challenge is because I keep telling myself I’m going to write a novel, and I never get around to starting, or, if I do, I only ever get as far as 3000 words before giving up entirely. I’ve only managed to get past this stage on two occasions before now – once was when I did write a whole novel, between 2010 and 2013. It’s not the best thing ever written, but for a first go I think it’s not too bad either – I self-published it as an e-book and added it to the virtual slush-pile of mediocre fiction available on the interweb – you can read it by clicking here if you like.
The other time was my failed 2014 attempt at NaNoWriMo.
So 50% of the times I’ve managed to produce a work of fiction that has extended past 3000 words was as a result of NaNoWriMo. And, whatever else I may or may not have achieved, I have managed to get quite a long way past 3,000 words this time too. And I’m much happier with this year’s story than I was with my 2014 effort so I genuinely think I’ll keep writing it once this month is over. Which is sort of the point of NaNoWriMo really. 50,000 words is an arbitrary target – most novels are longer than that, so even most ‘winners’ don’t really have finished novels at the end of it all. And even if they do, they still have months of editing to look forward to before they finally have a finished novel that will be ignored by the world at large.
That I decided to blog for 30 consecutive days this month was clearly an inhibiting factor in my ability to focus on my novel properly. But I was acutely aware that after a sustained period of blogging between March 2020 and March 2021, I had rather slipped in the regularity of my blog-posting and, I thought this seemed as good a way as any of kickstarting it again. Switching off my comments has added a surreal element to it all. I’ve never blogged for the ‘social’ element, it has always just been about writing in whatever guise that takes, be it a frivolous haiku or a rant about soup, but switching the comments off for a month has made me realise what a fundamental part of blogging they actually are. ‘Likes’ are all well and good (and thank you to the hardy souls who have ploughed through this mire of mediocrity and continued to ‘like’ my posts for the last few weeks) but comments are the only meaningful feedback you can hope to achieve as a blogger and I have missed them.
Even if, as a notional ‘humour’ blogger, most of my comments are from people trying to demonstrate (often successfully) how much funnier they are than I am.
So I will be switching the comments back on in December, and then probably taking an eternity to reply to any of them, as has been my modus operandi for a while now.
Back to the novel-writing though and I managed 262 words today. Which brings me up to 15,329 overall.