Last Saturday, while suffering from a nasty virus and exhaustion from caring for my two poorly boys over the week previous, I managed to delete about 3,500 words of my novel in progress while saving my latest Fourth Fiction guest participant post in my writing file. The problem was I was working on my laptop when I was disturbed by my youngest waking in tears from his nap. Struggling to shut down my computer and pack everything away and console a howling two year old, I took a shortcut and, all too quickly, saved my whole writing folder from my pen drive over the one on my laptop. In this way I put the latest version of my Fourth Fiction file onto my Macbook while silmultaneously overwriting my Scrivener file for the project with a version from a few weeks back.

‘But surely, Dan, you had a back up,’ I hear you say.

Well yes, I did. In addition to the folder on my pen drive, I had saved the Scrivener file to an online cloudy type service. So I downloaded the file from there. Phew I thought, saved. Then I clicked on the file to open it and Scrivener got all huffy and said the file was incomplete. In a last ditch effort to save my shitty first draft prose I copied the scriver file onto my pc and tried to find the rtf files inside the folder. Imagine my surprise when I found only a lone preview file sitting inside where hordes of rtf flies should have been sitting in their own folders, like children tucked up in bed. Except they weren’t. They’d buggered off and left me with an empty screen when oodles of my lovely prose should have been. Must have been unlucky and had some sort of problem when I uploaded it.

I suppose I could have bought some file rescuing super-software but couldn’t really justify forking out cash on the off chance the stuff was still hidden on the hard-drive. Resigned to rewriting the missing portion I went back and read through the work so far and found myself needing to nip and tuck some major things. At this point I remembered Nanowrimo – the National Novel Writing Month. I hadn’t planned to sign up for this, but staring at a well planned story that needed rebooting, I figured to make the lemonade and give Nanowrimo a crack, hence the little clicky-picky to the right of this post.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Doesn’t that sound great. An incentive to work and license for your first draft to be shitty. It’s all output, output, output.

So that’s what I’ll be doing with my November and why. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work I’ll have a YA novel complete by the end of November. Just so long as I don’t delete it all by accident, eh?