In the amateur writing world, November is famed as NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, where participants are challenged to write 50,000 words of a story in 30 days. For those that don’t have the time to participate, there have been unofficial alternatives: NaNoReviseMo, for editing manuscripts, and NaNoFiMo for simply finishing a story off.
It was the last task that I decided to take part in. In September 2007 I started a story, Lessons, but for various reasons had never got round to finishing it. It was never intended to be a full length novel; much shorter than the NaNoWriMo requirement, but the great part of the spin-off writing tasks is that no word count is set; it’s all about personal goals.
With nothing to do one private study, I planned out my intended ending to the story. I’m not the type of writer that makes a precise chapter plan, instead just seeing where my writing takes me within a broad story idea, but I felt in order to actually round up the story a plan was most definitely needed. Since I’m ridiculously protective and self-conscious about my stories, to even manage to write a plan in school was an achievement for me.
Once the plan was drawn up, it was just a matter of finding the time to write. With my new job and homework, it was harder than I thought, but unexpected half days helped greatly. It turned out that I wrote just over 2000 words, which for me is an achievement, as I’m a ridiculously slow story writer – 1000 words in a day is fantastic for me.
The feeling of achievement when you actually finish a story is amazing. You can forget about the impending rewrites because the first draft is finally complete. I’ve struggled with many stories that have been started and currently sit as a word document of only a couple of thousand words on my laptop, but to have one that has ‘finished’ in the title is amazing to look at every time I open my ‘stories’ folder and see it there. Hopefully it will motivate me to write my other stories and remind me that I can actually finish something.