Lights up on a frazzled woman hunched over a tablet in PJs. It is 1st April. Playwrighting begins.
I began this month with the awesome (and by awesome I mean completely stupid) idea of chronicling my camp NaNoWriMo adventures in the format of a stage play. I thought â€˜okay, could be tricky but itâ€™ll be funâ€™.
I got to day three before realising it was neither. Never one to be daunted by a challenge, I persevered. It took me until day 24 to draw the conclusion that this just wasnâ€™t going to come together. Youâ€™d have thought the 19 days without writing a thing in this blog would have been a hint. 🤷♀️
So instead of that minor crime against blogging, hereâ€™s a little bloggy run down of the last 30 days, first from memory and then Iâ€™ll take you along as I go.
Day 1: NaNo time means a NaNo project. And Iâ€™m not sure what Iâ€™m going to write yet. Way to prepare! Undaunted, I set a word count goal anyway. Just 5000 words, hope it will be enough to help me re-form the writing habit. Iâ€™ve been skimming through a few of my old projects asking myself if I want to finish something old or start a new play entirely. My only preparation was to count up my unfinished projects. Thereâ€™s a grand total of 7. Yikes. So, probably best to go with an old project, but nothingâ€™s really calling me. Time to re-read a few things.
Day 2: Iâ€™ve reread the three smaller projects Iâ€™m contemplating and am halfway through the larger Queen Bitch (working title). Shit. Two of these things have some pretty decent parts. Now to narrow: two are flimsy so I discard them immediately leaving me with a short monologue concept with four lines written and a 3/4 finished full length play. The playâ€™s calling me. But itâ€™s historical and I think Iâ€™ve forgotten a fuck ton of info and need to go back to research. I then realise I canâ€™t find my original sources. Bugger.
Day 3: I finished rereading the full length play and spent the day searching for my sources. Catharine Edwards why is your work so hard to find?!
Day 4: Wholly failed to find what Iâ€™m searching for, although I do have about 6 youtube videos and a dozen podcast to listen to. Overwhelmed. Give up entirely on that idea. If I want to finish writing something this month I need to get to the actual writing. Monologue it is then.
Day 5: Intended to begin writing properly. I have lost the inside of this womanâ€™s head. Managed 74 words, fml.
Day 6: Do I include other people speaking, as part her dialogue or by adding in others and turning it into a short play?
Day 7: Sticking to one person. Itâ€™ll save confusion and works better with the reveal I have planned for later.
Day 8: Today happened. I have no idea what though.
Day 9: Decent-ish word count, but not enough to reach my goal by 30th. My overall word goal is small, so I donâ€™t need to achieve huge counts to reach it but still feels good to get close to it. Feel like Iâ€™m just getting a handle on whatâ€™s happening and then it drifts away. More swearing.
Days 10 – 15: I honestly donâ€™t recall much from these days. I got words in. I know this because my word count on the NaNo site says I did. Beyond that â€¦ I guess weâ€™ll never know.
Day 16: I can sense Iâ€™m nearing the end and Iâ€™m already getting jittery at the thought of another looming decision. I have a firm idea of what needs to come with this though and itâ€™s flowing pretty nicely. Best writing day yet. Or at least, the most productive.
Day 17: Should I have colour coded this? I decide no.
Day 18: I should have colour coded this. Went back and changed font to colours representing the other characters in my MCâ€™s mind.
Day 19: Finished it! The first draft of â€˜Flamedâ€™ is done. It definitely needs some work, there are some structural issues; grammatical things (pretty sure I messed up a fair few tenses) and some inconsistencies but overall, I think itâ€™s an okay first draft. It has potential, I think hope.
Day 20: And now it’s decision time again: do I edit straight away or move on with another draft. They all need research.
Day 21: I found one of the documentaries I was using as source material for one of my old projects. Watching that again counts as work, right? Right?
Days 22-24: Watched some YouTube vids. Made a few notes. Wrote nothing. Well, 38 words. In three days. *le sigh*
Day 25: Thatâ€™s it, No more procrastination. Iâ€™m forcing myself to do this. Reread the section of the play Iâ€™m working on again and bit the bullet. And it actually flowed pretty well. Why have I procrastinated for so long here? I think Iâ€™ve been putting it off because I really like what Iâ€™d written before and don’t want to ruin that â€” itâ€™s been a long time since I last worked on this (8 years, I think) and I don’t trust myself or my research to match the work.
Day 26: Another nice writing day. The notes I took are actually helpful, allowing me to pick up where I left off with ease and keep moving forward, even if I’m not completely sure of things. Is this what planning feels like? Why donâ€™t I do this with every project?
Day 27: I Won! I hit my arbitrary goal. A full 5000 words. Not much by the grand scheme of comparisonitis but Iâ€™m a happy bunny now. So happy I stopped when I hit my goal.🙊
Day 28: Still feeling the â€˜Okay â€¦ what now?â€™ vibe of â€˜winningâ€™. Oops, still a long way to go on this one. Letâ€™s knuckle down.
Day 29: Discovered my Audible subscription comes with some free courses, including â€˜The Great Coursesâ€™ series. Thereâ€™s one on Ancient Egypt that looks relevant. Yes Mâ€™Lovelies, Iâ€™ve moved from Rome to Egypt â€¦ but still no nearer in time. Anyway, I went ahead and downloaded it, listened and now Iâ€™m confused, especially about timelines. Much googling ensued.
Day 30: Research mode: 100. Clarity mode: 0.
Sod it, Iâ€™m writing on anyway. This is my characterâ€™s view, she doesnâ€™t have to, and shouldnâ€™t, hold the same view as her sister or victor-written history. So Iâ€™m running with the irksome bits. They make sense in the context of this and Iâ€™m calling dramatic license.
Did you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? How’d it go?