Na? No

I expect you’re all wondering what happened with my NaNoWriMo attempt this year. Sadly, after last year’s success, this year I failed.

As you’ll have seem if you clicked through to look at my stats, I averaged 595 words per day, for a total of 17,800. It’s not nothing, and it’s still a decent start on the new novel, but it’s nothing like last year.

Why did I fail? A better question is, why was I successful last year? This year’s result is comparable to other years when I’ve tried it. Last year’s success looks like the aberration.

The big difference between last year and any other was my commute. I’ve tended always to have a commute of about an hour — except when I worked at the bank in the City, when it was shorter. Last year I was working in Croydon, which took me an hour and a half or more to get to. The one good point was that, picking up the Overground from Dalston Junction, I nearly always got a seat within a few stops. And on the way back had one from the start (coming from West Croydon, which is the start of the line).

So I was able to get forty or fifty minutes of concentrated writing time in each direction. Add to that the fact that the office I was in was really horrible, so I didn’t want to spend my lunch hours in it. I mostly went out and wrote in cafes or at Boxpark Croydon. The one thing I miss about that job is the the places to eat, especially a little pizza place in Boxpark.

Whereas now, working at Imperial, I’m back to a one-hour commute, with much less guarantee of a seat. And I really like both job and office, so I’m quite happy to go back there after I’ve got my lunch.

One other point is that last year I had worked out how I was going to end the novel I had been working on for years, so I was running downhill towards that end. This year, starting a brand-new one — even though I’ve got a plan, it feels much more uphill.

Still, we press on, writers against procrastination, borne forward ceaselessly into the future.

Na? No

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