So, because I don’t seem able to grasp that NaNoWriMo is where you write your novel in a month, not plan and write it, I arrived at the November retreat with no more than a vague idea. It’s about a man who meets his google doubles. Every time I explain this, people say ‘oh, like Dave Gorman’ and I look at them blankly. I’m aware of the existence of his book/tv show, and of course this is where the inspiration will have come from, but no, it’s not like Dave Gorman. Largely because his was both good and funny.


Anyway. Some spectacular planning at the retreat resulted in a story arc broken down into 60 sections and the first 1,000 words. It was sort of a lazy version of the snowflake method crossed with the phase method. I know this might have its disadvantages and am sure there are people who would be appalled by my lack of flexibility by not allowing my characters to just do as they wish, but last year was an absolute nightmare. I’d be walking home from work thinking, ‘what on earth can I write about tonight? I know, I’ll kill Johnny!’ only to find a week later that I had to work out a way of resurrecting poor Johnny because he was crucial to the plot.


So this time I was expecting an easier ride. My downfall this year though, has been laziness and complacency. And not having the challenge of beating my friend. Have I ever mentioned that I’m good at procrastinating? So on the 14th November I had written only 3,000 words (target 23,338). On the few occasions I sat down to write it was incredibly slow, and although I knew where I was going the narrator’s voice just wasn’t right and it felt like there was an absolutely enormous mountain (an enormountain?) to climb. And it was covered in 3ft of treacle.


Yesterday I gave in and got out my old laptop. I’ve been avoiding it because, well, it runs on Windows 95. I got laughed at for it when I went to do my masters, ooh, 5 years ago. It has no memory, no disk drives, no internet connection, can’t take a memory stick, can’t have more than once document open at once. And the wrist supports I use because I write with little regard for my tendons and had closed inside it last year had gone mouldy. Ew. The computer is mouldy too. How… I mean… how? Seven minutes later when it was finally fired up, I was ready to give up on the whole thing. Then I started typing. Aaaah. 60wpm+ typing speed, hello. Plan that tells me what to do next? Hello, I love you. I am now at 9,066 (target: 28,339) and back in the game.