For the first time ever, I will be taking part in Nanowrimo. For those of you who haven’t heard of Nanowrimo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month (national meaning US I believe). The idea is to write every day, for the month of November and by the end you’re meant to have a 50,000 word novel. By the end of the month, you’re supposed to have a first draft of your novel.
This is the first time since I was in primary school, that I would have sat down to write a piece of fiction and (like most fountain pen lovers) I am doing it by hand. I mentioned in my Instagram feed that I’ve taken about a week working out what pens, paper and inks I’m going to be using and I thought I would share my tools for the month:
- Chiyogami Bound Tomoe River Paper notebook in White and Gold Wave
- Pebble Stationery Co A5 Cahier Tomoe River Notebook
- Nakaya White Roses B with Sailor Kobe #36 ink
- Nakaya Naka Ai Milky Way B with Sailor Bungubox Sapphire
- Pelikan M600 White Tortoise B with
- Franklin Christoph Pocket 45 B with Sailor Oku Yama (Mark up pen).
I'm using the Chiyogami notebook for the text of the novel and the A5 Cahier as a notes/planning notebook to plot out storylines, characters etc. I like being able to reference page numbers so that things are easier to find.
For me, using a hardcover is a mental commitment to this project. Using a softcover cahier style notebook mentally allows me to commit less to a project (I don’t know why and it is probably weird) because I feel like if I abandon the project, its not as much of a waste of paper. Whereas if I abandoned a project in a thicker, hardcover notebook, I feel like that is more of a loss. Deciding on which pens, inks and paper is another stage of mental commitment.
My personal guidelines:
Since this is going to be the first time I’m attempting this, I am going to be a little bit more flexible with my goals for the month. I think its highly unlikely I will finish an entire first draft of a novel in a month, and as I am writing my hand I don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to count words each day, so I am going to set some goals that are going to be more realistic an achievable for me.
- Write every day, even if its only a small amount
- Planning counts, but only if it brings the project forward
- No editing! If I think of something that might not work and needs more thought/research – make a note to revisit in red.
- A bit of research is fine, but don’t get caught up. If it needs a significant amount of research, note it in red and re-visit when the first draft is finished.
- Don’t be too pedantic about how the notebook looks – scribbling out, mistakes, notes etc are all acceptable and expected.
- Have fun!
Going into the month, I have already planned out how I want the story to go and have already started writing some pages. I have already been caught up in too much research (I spent an disproportionately long time researching an oil lamp….) hence point 4. My aim and goal of Nanowrimo is to develop a habit to consistently spend time working on this and eventually reach the end of a first draft. I fully expect that first draft to be pretty rubbish, but as Sarah Read and Neil Gaiman have said, you can always edit your first draft, but you can’t edit what you don’t have.
I’ll try and post updates halfway through the month and then again at the end of the month to let you know how I’ve gone. This is partly to hold myself accountable as well. So, with that in mind, wish me luck and I’d better start writing today’s quota.