I did NaNoWriMo on the spur of the moment. So, while some participants already had plans and character studies sketched out, I was making the whole thing up as I went along. It was a very liberating way to write, and I really enjoyed the experience. Funny, encouraging emails kept popping into my inbox from the organisers. My writing buddies and I shared news of our progress, cheering each other along in the race to the magic 50k.
Actually, I reached 36,000 words during November. Below the target, but still more than I'd ever managed to write before in such a short space of time. I felt pleased and exhilarated.
Three months on, despite good intentions, I am disappointed to admit that I've only added another 10,000 words. It's not that I've fallen out of love with my NaNoWriMo novel. I can't even blame lack of time, since I've cut down a lot on my work hours. My main problem is that I just seem addicted to writing short stories. They are so much... well, shorter. And they are also manageable in a way my novel is not. I can't seem to do without the thrill of finishing and submitting a story every couple of weeks. It makes me wonder if there are people who are naturally short story writers and others who are naturally novelists. Sprinters versus marathon runners. Or maybe I just have a very limited attention span.
Meanwhile, my novel keeps returning to the drawer, giving me a resentful glare of neglect whenever I go in there for something else. I do wish I could complete the first draft - but wishing won't do it.
One thing that puts me off resuming work on it is that I have introduced too many characters in Chapter One. Part of me is itching to rewrite that opening, but I know it's better to motor on to the end and sort out such problems in the second draft. I haven't a clue what's going to happen in the last section of the novel, but the only way for me to find that out is just to write and see where it goes.
Anyway, I've written several new stories since Christmas and I feel I am coming to the end of a short story phase. Therefore I hereby make a declaration of intent. April will be novel month. There, I've told you all now, so I have to stick to it.
If you've done NaNoWriMo, I'd love to hear how you got on.