This year I decided to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo with a bunch of fellow bloggers/writers. I’ve never done any kind of NaNoWriMo activities for various reasons – finishing my dissertation, finishing a novel, being heavily pregnant and commuting 5 hours a day etc – but this year felt like a good time to start.
I hadn’t heard of the camp stuff before but when it was explained to me it sounded perfect, as you don’t have to write an 80,000 word novel as you do in November: for camp you can set your own goals, whether it’s a word count for writing or finishing off some editing, which is exactly what I wanted to do.
I set a goal of 50,000 words, which is 50 hours of active editing. I thought it sounded reasonable and that by the end of the months I’d have finally finished editing my first novel, as that’s been going on forever now.
Sadly, it was not the case. I got a bit behind. And then a bit more behind. And by that point, it was just impossible to catch up, unless I didn’t sleep and spent most of the day ignoring Little Moore! Sadly maternity leave doesn’t mean free time to do whatever you like.
I was still pleased with my progress though. I did about 25 hours of editing, half my target but more than I probably would have in a normal month. But I did find myself resenting doing the work. I don’t know if that was because of the increasingly impossible target or the fact that editing is bloody hard work, or just that this novel sometimes feels like it’s beyond help.
So I’ve quit. And it feels good.
I’ve not given up forever, but I think it’s a good idea to take a break from this one for now. There’s a lot that needs sorting to make it readable to someone other than me or Nathan, and I don’t feel like I have the brain power or editing skills for it right now. And it was start to make me wonder if writing wasn’t for me after all. I know editing is a huge part of being a writer, and I was struggling so much it was starting to feel like I never wanted to write again.
Instead of editing my old work, I’ve started something new. It’s a story I’ve been mulling around in my head for years, as is often the case. I’ve written a couple of chapters before for my degree, although the idea has changed a lot since then. One day I got out a pretty notebook and scribbled down a page, then put it away. I did the same the next day, and the next.
I’ve been doing a page a day for a couple of weeks now, and although it’s not fast moving, it’s writing and I’m enjoying it and that’s what feels important right now. I know at some point I need to sit down and plan where it’s going, and hopefully some day I’ll have to sit down and hate editing it, but for now, I feel like a writer again, and that’s good.