The trouble with NaNoWriMo is obsessing over your word count. As I write, I’m constantly checking that figure.

It’s not a big trouble.

To Nano or Not?

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I still haven’t quite decided whether to throw myself into it this year or not. I’ve taken part several times in previous years, but never completed the 50,000 words. And this year I still have the novel that I’ve been working on intermittently for about four years, that I’d like to finish off.

Maybe it would be better, and more in the Nano spirit, to start something new. But I think if I were to do that, I’d never finish this one, and it would sit there forever, haunting me. Maybe taunting me too, who knows.

I should have a better chance of getting the word count up this year, as I have a longer commute, and I usually get a seat at or near the start of the longest part (Dalston Junction to West Croydon, if you’re interested). So it should be entirely possible to get two free blocks of writing time each weekday. But I have found it to be strangely offputting to write in that environment, when there’s a person sitting on either side of me.

Sure, they’re probably not in the least interested in what I’ve got going on, but as Stephen King says in On Writing, you’ve got to write the first draft with the door closed.

Still, I have recently been looking at the novel again, and I think I’ve worked out how to end it. That has always been the problem for me: I don’t do a detailed plot, but I need to know how a story’s going to end if I’m going to have any chance of finishing it. If I just start writing with only an idea, maybe a setting and some characters, I tend to meander around all over the place and never get anywhere. Or at least, not to a sensible end.

I don’t have to know much about the route, but I need to know the destination, in other words. So as I now know the destination — or at least have a much clearer idea of it — I think it’s time to take one last run at this thing.

But this is me declaring that I’m throwing my hat in the Wrimo ring. I’ve signed up, and even given it a working title1 — by raiding that fount of quotes, The Tempest.

  1. Another problem has been and remains that I don’t have a title for it. Why are titles so hard?

Star Trek is really getting back to its sixties roots. Magic mycelium, “A hit of speed…” Groovy stuff.