No No No, NaNoWriMo

royal-diana-typewriter

Well, it’s December now. All over for another year. The failure, the ignominy… The typewriter you see above is not mine, as you’ll read in a minute. It is, in its cool, metallic, clean-lined sleekness, in its bland-faced 1960s rationality, in its businesslike luxe, its straightforward imperturbability, everything I could not be in November 2016.

There are those of you to whom the title of this post will be completely incomprehensible, and to you I apologise. And there are those to whom it will be the goddamn story of your life.  You join, you write your synopsis, you find out which of your friends are doing it too and set up a gang of buddies… and then… well…

I tried! I tried harder than ever before to actually do this thing, which is to write 1,667 words (ish) of the first draft of a novel, every single day throughout the month of November, aiming for a total of 50,000 words which you can then redraft, edit, throw away, etc etc. The thinking is that if you rush at it headlong you won’t even have time for this:wile_3366650b

Unfortunately your correspondent here has been dealing with so much mega-shit in real life lately – srsly – that it turned out I didn’t have the energy to try and outrun any roadrunners. That was why I wanted to do NaNoWriMo in the first place: it was going to create a routine, get me out of my own situation, clear my head, inject some mental structure… but no. I just about had the spare energy for thinking about it, and sometimes that does more good than nothing. My total word count for the month was one day’s word count. And I think those words will have to end up sprinkled through the whole book…

That’s okay though. Nobody can do everything all the time. One guy I know, Richard Polt, author of The Typewriter Revolution (an instant classic in its niche, a brilliant book) also didn’t try to write a whole novel for NaNoWriMo. He did something very clever (which would also have taken too much time and concentration for me this month), which has been deeply satisfying, all month long. He took those two syllables ‘Nano’ at face value, and did this:

nanonovels-on-typewriters

It’s a joy! Click that picture for a link to Richard’s pdf of the whole month-long adventure, and incidentally some absolutely amazing typewriters.

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