Winning and Losing


Well, Nanowrimo is over for another year, and I made over 55,ooo words altogether.

I am seriously pleased with myself, especially as the last few days were a horrible, painful struggle for words in the face of almost complete physical exhaustion with a side order of stinking cold. I’ve got a massive start on the Sere novel – it’s only about halfway through, but it was beginning to build up a great head of steam and I had some fantastic days of writing when the story just seemed to materialise infront of me, with very little conscious intervention.

Since Nano ended, there has been a price to pay. The physical side of things caught up with me, and gave me a good smack upside the head, knocking me out for the last couple of weeks. I have had neither the energy nor the will to write, and even reading has felt too strenuous. I’ve built up a stack of early nights and watched a lot of television … all the while with that unfinished MS hanging over my head.

I’m not sure if I’ll do Nano next year. Yes, it was fantastic getting all those words down, and the shared momentum of all those writers churning out all those words was fabulous momentum and inspiration, but I wonder if the physical cost is just too high – trying to fit in all that writing in such a busy time of the year, on top of all my normal commitments, has taken a heavy toll. The lack of any writing in the last couple of weeks has rather taken the shine off it all, because it’s made me realise that kind of hell-for-leather pace is simply not sustainable over the course of a whole novel, so that when I go back to SERE, I’m almost having to start from scratch again, feeling my way back into the story and characters without any momentum driving me forward.

I would, normally, have a pretty intense writing schedule when I’m getting a baseline draft down, but it’s more like a scene per day, rather than the 2-3 scenes I was gunning through for Nano. What’s irritated me is that I remember having a similar mid-novel crash half-way through DISCONNECTION earlier this year, and telling myself then that I was better off working at a slower pace over a continuous period, rather than having this mad burst of words and then stalling out for a couple of weeks. In the long haul, writing a smaller amount over a sustained period would have got the story finished earlier.

I’m annoyed with myself that I didn’t learn that lesson better, or that I thought that because it was Nano the normal rules of writing would be suspended for the duration of this novel.

Ah well, next time, I’ll know better. I will finish SERE, though at a much slower pace – probably towards the end of January to complete the first draft as I’ll try to balance it better with the rest of my life and other writing activities, and I will write at least one new novel next year, but it won’t be during Nano.

Time to sift through the wreckage, salvage what can be used, and move on.


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