NaNoWriMo Interview: Amanda Kendle
Amanda Kendle is an Australian travel writer who dreams of becoming a published fiction writer. Perhaps that’s why she called her blog and exercise in creative procrastination Becoming a Fiction Writer – but then, who ever knows about such things. When she’s not writing travel articles and posts for publication or teaching English to foreigners or writing more fiction or blogging at Becoming a Fiction Writer, she’s hard at work re-writing her NaNoWriMo novel from 2007, her only NaNoWriMo so far and her first NaNoWriMo “win”. Find her on the NaNoWriMo site as “amandakendle” and say “hi!”
Why do you do NaNoWriMo? What benefits have you gotten from your participation?
I signed up for NaNoWriMo to because I’m the eternal procrastinator but I tend to respond well to watching pretty graphs grow and feeling that other people could be watching me. Although I didn’t participate in the forums a lot last year, I read what a lot of other people were talking about and felt like I was part of something much bigger than just me and my computer in a small room in Perth.
The biggest benefit was learning that I *can* write a lot, when I have to. Since then I’ve been able to push myself a bit more because I know that back in November I wrote 50,000 words in less than a month.
How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated during NaNoWriMo?
A month is a short enough time (for me) that I could keep myself motivated mostly by wanting to be able to see the bars on my daily word count graph get higher. Obviously this wouldn’t work long term, but for a month it’s possible, and that kept me motivated. Also, I told quite a few people that I was taking part (and blogged about) so I didn’t want to have to admit defeat.
As for being inspired, that was surprisingly easy but if I got a bit uninspired I would browse the forums and see what kinds of titles other people had for their novels and how many words they’d written.
What sort of planning, if any, are you doing this year before you start writing?
I’m doing much more planning this year. Last year I didn’t plan at all, really, and while I still managed to get plenty written, the rewriting is an ongoing nightmare and I’ve had to throw a lot out. So this year I am getting much more detailed with chapter outlines etc – but only for the first 3/4 of the novel, the ending is still a mystery to me. That’s largely because I can’t quite figure out what the characters will really do, and because I think that’s a good way to write – let them decide for me. I think if I knew the entire story first I might not be interested enough to write it.
What are some of the tools you use to keep yourself organized and on-track during NaNoWriMo? How do you use them?
Nothing too fancy, but the graph included in your NaNoWriMo profile page was a godsend. Loved it. I did also (geekily) use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of how many words I needed to finish each day to stay on target (depending on how many I’d already written – this number often varied).
How do you manage your time during NaNoWriMo to make time for writing?
Badly. And I became a social hermit, spending several weekends locked in front of the computer.
What advice do you have for other writers doing NaNoWriMo for the first time?
Try to plan a structure for your novel even if you feel resistant to this idea.
Write extra (more than the daily target) for the first week or two so that the second week or two are easier.
Always stop writing in the middle of something you’re enjoying so it’s easy to start again.
Don’t worry if some of what you write is drivel, it is quantity not quality at this point.