As my wife posted, we both won NaNoWriMo last month. As many of you already know I did not enter to merely write 50,000 words; I wished to pressure myself into not editing as I wrote. I am letting the draft mature before I edit so I do not know how much extra time it will need. However I do have a few initial thoughts on the process:

1) I am able to write faster by not editing as I go: before NaNo I averaged 500 words an hour; during NaNo I averaged 1000 words an hour. As spending more time writing will have also been more practice at touch typing I estimate this represents a 40% increase in rate of turning inchoate plot into words.

2) Knowing what I needed to do next did not make it easier to get writing. Despite leaving notes of where scenes were going when I stopped in the middle picking up scenes the next day was just as hard as starting new ones. This contrasts with my previous experience where I found it easier to continue a scene I had already begun. So, for me, editing and generating plot seem to be linked.

3) I read as many books as I have done in previous months so, even when writing more than usual, I do not need to take periods of isolation from the writing of others to write myself.

3) My need to carry out routine tasks can abate but returns. In order to focus on my experiment I postponed several of my monthly household tasks until December. At the time I would usually undertake them I felt uncomfortable not having done them but not uncomfortable enough to interfere with writing; this feeling went away after a couple of days but returned slightly over a week later strongly enough to split my focus.

5) Ginger Biscuits are Insidious. To make sure that my sessions were focussed I choose to reward myself with a biscuit every 1000 words written in a day. This helped me trim away a little more of the hidden slack in my typing: if I wanted a biscuit with my morning and afternoon coffee I needed to write quickly after breakfast and lunch. However my unconscious did not care for the reason I ate the biscuit so I am now faced with getting into the habit of not having a biscuit with my coffee.

Overall I enjoyed the experience. Whether I embrace writing looser first drafts more swiftly is a question that must wait until after I have experienced editing my NaNo draft.

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