You can tell that I don’t come from a family of writers. Not that my family aren’t supportive, they are, remarkably so in fact seeing as my chosen career ambitions have so far been financially fruitless. My father and sister both have copies of Dead and Buryd, both of my parents and both step-parents visited London to attend the ceremony of the Wicked Young Writers Award for which I had been shortlisted in 2011. They supported me through a Creative Writing degree at University of Derby. I am sure that, should I receive a publishing contract, or choose to self-publish, they will all be first in line to get signed copies and broadcast my success to the world.
However, you can tell that I don’t come from a family of writers when, at 11pm on March 31st I announce that I will be starting writing at midnight for NaNoWriMo and am met with mockery for the next hour. It was all in good humour, and again, I know they support me 110%, but sometimes I have to wonder if they understand exactly why I do what I do?
Was it important for me to start writing at midnight and not before? No one would know, it’s not like there is a grand cash prize for the first person to hit 50,000 words. The thing is, I know. I started at midnight (actually quarter past twelve by the time I’d set myself up and knew how I was starting,) because there will always be that element of me knowing. I want to know in my bones that I succeeded.
No, NaNoWriMo is not the be all and end all. If I don’t reach 50,000 words it will not crush my spirit completely. However, reaching that goal is an achievement I can be proud of. Knowing that I can write every day, that I can set myself a target and reach it, reaffirms my belief every day that writing was not some pipe dream. Even if I never make a penny on my writing, it will still be there, a beacon and memory of my life and who I am.
For some people, NaNoWriMo is an annual occurrence, something for November. Up until now, that has been the case for me. 2012 was the second time I reached 50k in 30 days, and the first time that those 50k have gone on to produce a finished novel. Now, 4 months later, I have started again with a new 50k goal for Camp NaNo ran throughout April.
I always knew that Dead and Buryd would not be a stand alone book. The world I have created was too expansive for a single book, too much to be contained within what is, admittedly, such a low word count. Dead and Buryd now stands at 81,000 words, and the way the story is progressing, I think it will be 5 or 6 books before I finish the tale I have to tell with it. Truth be told, I think I could easily write for the rest of my life in this setting, telling the stories of different characters, different times, and different places. I won’t spend the rest of my life on it, I have too many other stories I want to tell, characters I want to discover and embrace. But I could, if I wanted to.
Before, when I have been working on long projects, I have reached a certain point and lost my drive for it, not this one. This one, I am certain, is the one that will just keep giving. There have always been uncertainties about the plots and characters with other novels, but not anymore. I know these characters and this place. So, when it came to deciding on the project for April’s Camp NaNo, I knew immediately what I would be working on. The sequel to D&B.
We’re 3 days in so far, another 6 hours of the day to go (only four of which I will be awake most likely) and should I choose to sit and write until bedtime, I could easily crank out another 6 to 8 thousand words.
Currently, I am at roughly 6,700 words, a great 1,700 over my target for the day, and itching to write more. With everything for this novel already planned out, I have been given the joyous task of turning my planning into prose, something that is coming more easily with every word I write.
So, on that note, I return to NaNoWriMo, and my new novel!