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November Days

I’m nowhere near busy enough, clearly.

I say this because Nano is upon us and I’m IN. Which feels like something on the brink of insanity.

But first, for those not in the know, what is Nano? Nano is short for NaNoWriMo which is short for National Novel Writing Month which is, essentially, a worldwide shove for writers to get words on paper. Specifically, 50,000. In one month. I’ve done it before, and here I am, doing it again. All across the globe, right now, people are scribbling out their novels, together.

Photo by Ain Media on Scopio

So there’s the working towards publishing Dear Isobel and the cosy mysteries, there’s teaching and creating lesson plans from scratch, there’s the tiny, weeny, little thing that is the MA, and now there’s Nano.

To those of you who warmed me off, panic not! It’s not as bad as it sounds. In a beautiful moment of serendipitous coincidence, the clocks went back on 31st October this year (in the UK and Ireland, as we say goodbye to summer and hello to long dark nights that blur into short dark days) and Nano, as you may have guessed, started on November 1st.

November: It’s not all mist and mushrooms

How does this help? Because most of my students live in countries that don’t entertain this playing with time nonsense, their own times haven’t changed, so my lesson times (in MY time) all start an hour earlier, meaning my teaching-working day is now over by lunchtime. So, in commiting to Nano, I knew I’d have extra time in my afternoons to dedicate to an hour of writing each day. In order to hit 50,000 words, I only need to produce an average of around 1600 words each day, which for me, tends to be about the length of a chapter, so this is doable.

Photo by  Aliki Labraki  on  Scopio

In reality, it’s working out even better than I expected, so far, as I’m also getting up at the same time as I am used to, which is not the same time at all because, time-changing nonsense, and I have been poised at my keyboard with my breakfast every day by 9 am at the very latest. And since the Great Chinese ESL Implosion and resulting job losses, I have fewer classes than I used to have and most days I don’t teach my first class until 10am. Yet still get finished by 1pm. Win-win.

So every day so far this week, I’ve bashed out a chapter before I even started work. And that feels So Damn Good. And very productive, and that, in turn, urges me on to do more, keep going, rack up those words. Nano works for me because I like the competitiveness of communal writing and counting words. Many of my co-2022 debut authors are at it too, and we spur each other on, cheerleading and guilting each other to get words written. No one wants to be the one who didn’t write a single word today, so we try to make sure that no one is that person.

It also means that the novel-in-progress, Jane, Forgotten, is progressing at a steady pace. Much of what I’m writing will be edited with a wide-tooth comb, a fine-tooth comb, and then a very sharp Stanley knife, and the story is tripping along in directions I hadn’t thought it would, but day by day, the story is growing, and at this stage, that’s what matters most.

Here’s a snippet from Day 1:

Day 1, snippet

Now, I’m off to bash out another chapter, log those words, and celebrate with my Nano writing buddies. We’ve got this!

Love, Jinny

You can find out more about Nano here.

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