1667 words per day. That’s the aim, if you’re signed up for nanowrimo. It doesn’t matter so much what those words are, just get them on the page.
I’ve managed it in years past. A few days at that pace are okay, then it starts to burn. Soon it becomes a relentless push-push-push like riding a bike up the kind of incline that doesn’t even look like a hill to start with but turns into a monster of sweat and pain and swear words. And then the headwind starts.
Today is technically half-way. Seems like a reasonable day to check in.
So how is my Nano going, you ask? (Probably you don’t. There is enough horror in the world this weekend to drive all thoughts of word-count to a far-vanishing distance.)
My answer, though, is – well, it’s not really. I’m writing most days. I do that anyway. I tried to pick up speed but, truth be told I’m tired.
I’ve had a hunger to read as well as to write these past weeks which is not something that I, as a writer, think should ever be ignored. So I’ve busted through a couple of detective books plus Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (I thought Shriver was a man for the full first half of the book till I saw her photo on the back). That was interesting. I’m still thinking about it. I’d like to write some more about it at some point, but not right now.
I’ve also been experimenting with this exciting and high-stakes business called ‘week-ends’. Yes, in the midst of nanowrimo, I’ve decided that what I actually need is more time off! To rest. To breathe in. To absorb music and scenery and other people’s stories. To practise yoga, to watch television, to lay on the couch in my pyjamas. To have a few glasses of wine and turn my stereo up and dance in my kitchen. To do as little as I can possibly get away with.
I’m not sure that it will catch on in the long term, but I’m trialling it.
My story is inching along at its normal rate, which is significantly less than 1667 words a day. But the thing is, I’m not panicking. There’s no stop button on this. The normal rate has gotten me to almost 100,000 words now, in much less than a year, and the end is dimly in sight.
The other thing, though, is that my story feels flat to me at the moment. Empty. I’ve had this before, and I’ve learnt that the feeling and the thing don’t always correlate, so I trust that what is required is always to keep moving forward at a steady enough pace. You can’t call it a rut if you keep moving.
And perhaps sometimes the world itself becomes more insistent, works on you more deeply, and a story seems like a bunch of words on a page. Not to say the story doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t occupy my dreams right now.