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  • Writer's pictureBrook Bond

I Hit Fifty Thousand Words On Nanowrimo, And It Only Took Me Three Years To Get There!

Well, it’s official! The first draft of my novel hit fifty thousand words this morning! And yes, it took me three whole years to get there. I am a slow and cautious writer, and I can be just a teensy bit of a perfectionist.

I started Nanowrimo 2021 with a modest 39k words from the previous years of work, giving me 11k words to write in one month. Hardly the full 50k that non-cheaters have to slog through, but practically an odyssey for my writer’s block afflicted self.

I did not want to fail again; I don’t think my self-esteem could really take it. I really applied myself to getting those sweet sweet 11k words written come hell or high water. I wrote mostly from my little student flat in Colchester, though sometimes I’d stumble out into my accommodation’s study area to write under the judgemental gaze of my fellow students. I even wrote on my mobile phone from the back seat of my Aunt’s car when she drove me to and from visits to my parents. As it turns out, writing in the back of a car is quite a difficult and often nauseating task. It’s no wonder that I developed car sickness this month!

Nanowrimo has changed the way I write. It has made me aware of the different stages of the drafting process in a way none of my creative writing modules could ever quite prepare me for. As it stands right now, ‘So You’ve Become An Endling?’ is a pretty loose draft. As the end of the month drew closer and closer, I became less and less concerned with perfection to the point of writing by the seat of my pants.

A lot of Endling is in a rough state; some of it is just blocks of dialogue with loose descriptions of character actions sprinkled throughout. Though less evident in my short form work, I often have problems with “show, don’t tell” when it comes to my novel-length projects. It is something I am aware that I need to adjust; I reckon the later writing, revision, and editing stages will be very arduous to account for this rather slapdash drafting process.

And, Endling isn’t even fully drafted! Though I hit my 50k goal, I reckon it’ll take another 70k words before I’ve finished telling the story I have planned.

That leads me to another thing. I have lost rather a lot of faith in this novel ever meaningfully seeing the light of day. It’s not that good, all things considered, and pretty much unmarketable. I like the worldbuilding I’ve done, though the prose itself is certainly wonky and in need of a lot of polish. It’s a strange story, very queer and self-indulgent, and I’m not quite sure how many people will be willing to read it.

But while it may not be the piece I hand around when I eventually search for a literary agent, ‘So You’ve Become An Endling?” is one baby that won’t be thrown out with the bathwater. I would like to make something of it someday, even if it means having it bubbling merrily away on the back burner while I develop my skills elsewhere. I am under no illusion that my skills don’t need a great deal of refinement - why else would I have this website to practice my writing if I didn’t? Endling will always be there for me once I am ready to truly make something out of it.

Nanowrimo has been a journey, one I am not sure if I am willing to subject myself to all over again next year. But, at least this time around, I have made it, and I am proud.

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