It’s not a competition, is it?

Not winning was never on the agenda, which is why I avoided all competitive sports like you would a rabid dog.

Actually, I’d be more likely to approach a rabid dog to help it than take part in anything that involved the possibility of not winning. (The one exception to this was joining my school’s mixed hockey team. This was nothing to do with the opportunities of slamming my hockey stick against the rather burly forward’s shins, but our rather handsome goalkeeper. That, however, is another epic story.)

I have a competitive streak which can be as wide as the Mersey basin. But only, only if there is the chance of winning. A strong chance. Almost a certainty.

So National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo or #nanowrimo on Twitter gave me the opportunity to exercise my typing skills and crack on with this novel I’ve not stuck myself into yet. It’s been there for six years, or rather the characters have. Six years ago I finished a rather overwritten 120,000 words in a mere three and a half months, but could never bring myself to edit it. It was a fairly painful, if short labour, but it gave me my main man, my Daniel. Since then he has been my brain child, a parasite that drains a little piece of my real life every time he chooses to raise his pretty little head and say hi. But I’ve never stuck myself back into his world until now. I’ve written fanfiction, case fics, most of which have been baby epics and have allowed me to release the demons of my imagination but I studiously avoided The Novel. Why? It might not win. There’s no stats page while writing an original novel; there are no reviewers begging for the next instalment, so how would I stroke my competitive streak? Where was the chocolate coated carrot on the end of the silver plated stick?
The answer lay in a tweet around the end of October, with the sparkling hashtag ‘nanowrimo’. I’d started NaNoWriMo last year, but due to circumstances beyond my control – i.e., family slash relationship issues – my head was not in the correct gear. This year I found it was. I had no plan, but I knew how it started, I had an idea who would die and I’ve known the ending for about four years. The middle would have to write itself.

So, the story began. I bored my Twitter followers with my word count; conversed with other Twitterati about theirs and met some rather interested folk along the way. There were a few races and the page on my NaNoWriMo account which listed my ‘writing buddies’ leant me that competitively sharp edge. I would finish the 50,000 words before most others. I would complete.

And I did. I am now 60,000 words through the labour of We Were Never Alone. By the end of November I’m hoping to have reached 72,000. And if there’s still someone to compete against in the friendliest of ways, I’ll have finished mid December. In fact, we have a new hashtag – NaNoFiMo; National Novel Finishing Month, just to make sure that the job really does get done.

Then I can do what I’m strangely most looking forward to: the second draft. All of those vomited words can be polished into something that resembles a good story. I can tidy up the inconsistencies, give Daniel a little more oomph and make sure that the scene at the back of the pub does not find its way into the list of the Worst Ever Sex Scenes. (Of course, that last bit is dependent on the book ever finding its way into the public domain.)

NaNoWriMo gave me motivation. It got me going – fast enough so I couldn’t get bored. I’m even planning for the second and third instalments and this is from a lass who only plans shopping trips!

Anyone up for NaNoWriMo in April?

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4 thoughts on “It’s not a competition, is it?

  1. Like you, my stories have sat brooding in a drawer, it took NaNoWriMo to pull me out of my lethargy and fight the good fight. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and seeing my writing buddies word count rising spurred me on to keep going. I never considered myself competitive either, just goes to show how wrong you can be.

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