The first thing I noticed was the sheer joy of sitting in an armchair to write rather than at a desk. Yes, you could do that with a laptop, but somehow it doesn’t work, at least not for me. The beauty of the Neo is that you don’t have any games to lure you away, no emails, no internet. It’s just you and the words and, since editing comes later, you might as well do it with your eyes shut.
I sit with my feet up by the french doors watching the darkness lighten into dawn. By the time the sun’s up, I’m finished. It was on day 2 that I checked my word length, just to make sure that my instinct was right and that I’d done around 1700 words in about an hour and a half. The first session was 1869, the second 2016. I’m ahead!
Tempting though it is, I don’t allow myself to consult my notes. I’ve rather sprung this all on myself so there isn’t even a crib sheet. It’s just me, the Neo and the Muse. And, as always, the wonderful delight of what bubbles to the surface.
Because my characters are making this journey across southern Britain with only my memory to go on, it has become part of the story that they get lost. I did cheat yesterday and went to a map later in the day to see exactly where they are, and they are right on course, having taken in a landmark that wasn’t in my original scheme.
This is the magic of the Muse.
My ‘register’, the tone of the narration, is strange – simplified and formal. It seems I may be writing for the young. I don’t mind, if that’s what it’s to be.
And the real beauty of all this is not only that, at last, at last my novel is hatching, but that I have most of the day off! Time to make the piccalilli and quince jelly, time to prepare a talk for the Oxford Italian Association on Thursday, time to do a mailing for Godstow Press, time to hoover, time to write this blog. This is the life!
Will it last? I’m already getting up a bit later, going to the Neo a bit slower, convinced I have no idea what happens next, but then it all picks up again as soon as I press the ‘on’ button.
The count today, the fifth day, is 8657, 157 words ahead of target, and the name of the scheme is The National Novel Writing Month, known affectionaly as NaNoWriMo. Having looked at the site now, I’ve not signed up. I’m too busy to read pep-talk emails! And I still think there is far more to writing than word counts, but I notice that a) they talk about doing ‘the rough draft’ of a novel in a month, which is a relief and b) there are no prizes, which is also a relief. So it’s a good thing and it’s not too late to join in.