All you NaNoWriMo’s will have just about worn your fingers to stumps, but will now hopefully have an impressive 50,000 words to flesh out into a brilliant new novel.Well done!
For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a recognised annual November writing project where the object is to write in a free flowing style to focus your thoughts on the novel you have always meant to write, or to get your juices flowing for the next impressive tome if your output has become somewhat sluggish. The idea is quantity not quality.
I took part in NaNoWriMo last year and was surprised that I managed 40,000 words in three weeks- right on target, yes? Then unaccountably, because I was still in full flow and my novel had come almost fully formed into my head, I just couldn’t face doing any more. Couldn’t bring myself to open my word document and did every displacement activity known to writers (and we know a lot!) to stop myself from continuing. How very strange it was. I suppose it has shown me some facet of my personality that I previously didn’t know about, but I’m darned if I know what it is.
But having been prompted by this talk of NaNo wotsit I dug out my 40,000 words again and spent a pleasant day reading it through and was surprised at how ‘okayish’ it was. I tinkered with the first two chapters and then when prompted to save it to the wonderful Dropbox with the warning words, ‘A document with the same name has already been saved, do you want to replace it?’ happily agreed as it could only get better- right? Wrong! I had replaced my original 40,000 words with the first two chapters (just 8,000 words) which I’d opened in a new document and stupidly hadn’t changed the title. DOH! This is the second time in my writing life that I’ve done such a daft thing. The first time I lost 20,000 words when my laptop asked, ‘Do you want to revert to the original saved document?’ I still don’t know if I did or didn’t as, quite frankly, I don’t understand the question ( is it a double negative so it becomes a positive?) but I do know it pasted a blank document with the same title over the top of my 20,000 words which I’d opened earlier on and then forgotten about. I wasn’t happy then, either.
What was that about always backing up your work? I thought I was, but am now wondering if I should always save another copy somewhere else- but that’s when I get in a mess and find myself editing an older version and saving it alongside the newer version. Bring back the pen and notebook I say and maybe I’ll write the darn thing again next NaNoWrMo!