Well it’s that time of the year again – I mean of course the month of November – and as usual NaNoWriMo has me writing like a madman.
But nearly two weeks in, and already well past the target for the entire month, there’s time to do a bit of blogging. In many ways I have to admit I feel like I’m still recovering from the first two days of the month. Given the fact that my decision to attack my one day record – which had been just over 16k since 2008 – ended with me reaching 50k on November 2nd.
Having recovered at least somewhat from that sprint I’ve decided to try to write down how I did it before it fades completely. For one thing it’ll give me some place to send the people who keep asking how I did it, without having to give the same explanation over and over again.
I have no idea any more when or where exactly it was, but years ago I ran across this highly useful acronym: the BICHOK writing method. It stands for Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.
And that in a nutshell is how I managed it. Yes, there is an art to sustained word-sprinting, but it’s mostly down to getting used to it. Over the years I have gotten used to it to a point where I can keep going for a long time. But still the main ingredient it takes is time.
I did 33k on day one, shattering the old 16k record, but I did it mainly because I typed for nearly eighteen hours that day. Getting to 50k the next day merely took another eleven or twelve.
One question several people have asked me, after I’d explained the above, is how I keep my inspiration going for that long. The honest answer to that is that I don’t know.
Maybe I’ve simply gotten used to imagining things that fast. Or maybe it’s something else. I know that the great P.G. Wodehouse, at the height of his career, was consistently writing 8k per day.
I’m not sure I could keep up with that pace for more than a few days. But for a couple of days at least I seem to be able to keep this up. And at the start of NaNoWriMo this year, as so often in the past few years, I started from the point of not having written for far too much of the year.
I have no idea whether it’s possible to store up underused inspiration. But if it is that may well be what enables me to sprint like this during the first days of NaNoWriMo.