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I’m in Sydney for a few days giving myself a little holiday, visiting a couple of cool people. I told my friend, a poet, that I was feeling a little anxious about starting NaNoWriMo without a plot, or any characters. She laughed, and asked “why do you do it?”

This year will be my fifth time. I couldn’t think of a good reason at the time, and after thinking it over I don’t really have one, except I do it because I can.

There is something that I get from forcing myself to do the marathon that I don’t get from writing on my own. Additional motivation that comes from the companionship of other people doing the same thing. I don’t think I’d achieve nearly as much without knowing hundreds of thousands of people around the world are doing it too. There’s also an element of competition against myself; chasing those daily word count goals. Without that I wouldn’t make time for writing.

I am aware I create quite a lot of content, and I do the most of it at the last minute, right on the deadline. I think, deep down, I’m lazy and having something external to push against really helps me. And knowing there is a time when it will be finished, has to be finished, really helps sustain my efforts. Having the end in sight makes it easier to just keep going that little bit longer. A preset time when you have to stop also helps to avoid perfection paralysis.

This morning, I sat in a coffee shop in Newtown, with a coffee and wrote 600 words of plot and character summaries. I think I probably have enough to start with. Probably my plot has holes in it I won’t notice until later, but I can fix that up later. I start writing tomorrow.

Expect a couple of updates before the month is over, and possibly a faux-cover reveal later in the month when I’m procrastinating doing my daily words.