NaNoWriMo 2020 and Me

by Joy Mutter

This will be my second foray into the frenetic world of NaNoWriMo. I debated whether to take part again as I’m a full-time indie author who writes daily anyway. I decided to join in again as last year’s challenge concentrated my mind more than happened in the other eleven months. I’ve often been called prolific, almost as an insult and have never suffered from writer’s block. Even so, NaNoWriMo is not a stroll in the park. 

Reaching State Pension age on November 3rd means writing will be easier for me than those participants who must earn a wage as well as hit their daily word targets. I live alone hundreds of miles away from my family, so nobody prevents me from writing. Saying that, life can still destroy plans in various ways. For instance, I was busy writing one day recently when an author asked me to edit their book. A week of my writing life disappeared when I agreed.

Last November, interacting with the other local writers was informative fun. Stuck in this problematic COVID-riddled year, social interactions over Zoom during NaNoWriMo will be even more valuable to me, having left my house for only three hours since March 12th to have my Warfarin levels checked. Hardly fun outings.

I didn’t prepare for last year’s NaNoWriMo and began writing three days late yet still managed to write over 62,000 words of The Trouble With Trouble, published in April 2020. Since then, I’ve written and published book three, Trouble in Cornwall. Book four, called Troubled, is with beta readers and will soon join my other fifteen books on Amazon. 

For this year’s challenge, I planned to finish writing The Storms of Padstow as I’ve already written over a hundred pages of it. I’ve opted to write a second book of short stories and have broken my Pantser habits by making character sketches and plot outlines for each story. No endings are yet decided to prevent me losing the thrill of a story writing itself. The stories will be as dark as those in Her Demonic Angel, my first short story collection, published in 2015. Ideas for full-length books often surface while creating short stories and there are contenders among those I’m planning to write.

I could avoid the pressure of NaNoWriMo but rarely take life’s easiest path. I could ignore it and continue writing in isolation with no specific target, but I’d like to help make the event a success. The least I can do is add my word count to the total written this November by all the wonderful Oldham writers who I enjoy meeting regularly on Zoom. 

I’m eager to get stuck into this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge despite 2020 being more than challenging for everyone. Keeping a word count and giving myself a daily target will be a welcome distraction from the endless doom and gloom. Writing a book is a wonderful way to escape reality, immersing the author in an imaginary world populated by characters who only exist inside an author’s brain. I’ve never been so prepared to write a book and feel like a runner poised in the starting blocks listening for the bang of the starting pistol. I’m also looking forward to producing the artwork for its new book cover and promotional material, something I always enjoy doing as a former graphic designer. I even have a narrator in mind for the audiobook edition. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. 

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