50,000 words, thirty days, one novel. A daunting task under the best conditions. Such conditions being A. a fully functional word processing laptop B. a job to pay for a car and the gas to get to and from write ins C. picture perfect mental health and a life devoid of all external stress. So far I’m 0 for 3.
Granted there are people attempting NaNoWriMo in far worse straights than I, but for me it’s still pretty damn bad. No laptop, only an ancient (though very reliable) Dell desktop system. A license (finally), yet alas no car to go with it. Then the stress of no job/no money with the prices of everything under the sun increasing, yeah not so fun.
However, as I am obviously writing another blog post on the matter, you can bet that I am making my third attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Despite certain things going contrary to my whims, I am soldiering on in my life long goal of writing and eventually publishing a novel.
How am I doing this you ask? (I know you didn’t, just play along). You see I was doing some very interesting calculations the other day while contemplating how I would attempt my noveling adventure devoid of a portable machine to record said novel in. Calculations which made a very good argument for less conventional means.
Let me take you back to last year on All NaNo’s Eve, midnight. Picture me just starting to plug away at a novel on my now deceased laptop, Microsoft Word bright blue and cheery and working like a dream. Then back to me, looking down at my tiny word count every couple of seconds. I didn’t make good time that night or any other night that month and eventually I gave up entirely.
Fast forward back to a few days ago, me alone on my bed with a tiny heart-shaped Claire’s calculator and a notebook page filled with writing. I’ll never know where the idea came from, but I counted that page and figured out I had 300 words just on that one page. Then it hit me.
I took the daily word minimum for NaNoWriMo and divided it by that 300. If I were to write by hand everyday, I could make it with only 5.6 pages a day! That’s only three full pages front and back. And by my calculations if I added another page (front and back) I’d be around 2,400 per day.
Accounting for dialogue and shorter paragraphs that might come later (since I was counting just a blah page of boring plot) I figured an average of 225 to 250 per page (450 to 500 per page front and back). Even at the lowest amount the most I’d have to write would be 4 pages front and back.
Now imagine me this year, no word count to check and my only focus being on getting to the end of a page. Do you see how much easier this sounds? Aside from the possible strain to your wrist, carpal tunnel, and arthritis that could result. But hey, we risk those with typing as well. Then there are other benefits.
If you save your typing until after writing the first draft, the typing itself becomes the first round of editing. Naturally you have to read through your work to type it up, during which time you can capture the first blaring mistakes you see before they are even set in your hard drive.
And let us not forget the unsung benefits of having an immediate hard copy. Computers can be so glitchy and are not immune from nasty viruses that like to wipe laptops clean like an evil cleaning crew. Many a WriMo has sadly lost their masterpieces this way, but with a handwritten copy safely tucked away hope will never be lost.
Thus is my plan this year. To write my novel in the ways of the classic literary geniuses by pen and paper. It may be more difficult, requiring many more steps in the end particularly with validating my work. Requiring me to either keep up with my typing throughout the month or having my local Municipal Liason validate me.
Regardless, I have confidence that this will be the year. And by the so-called end of the world (December 21st, 2012) I might even boast a published novel! Leaving plenty of time to maybe find true love and all those other life pursuits. Seems like a decent state to leave life in.