I've got a lot out of this, so I thought a reflection might be useful, if only for me.
25 definitely non fiction
5 definitely fiction (inc. poetry)
702.7272 words per writeup on average
12/30 writing days
2000 words per writing day, roughly.
I first thought of attempting Iron Noder in 2018. I created a draft with a list of about 40 topics. This was not enough. Some days I just didn't feel like starting by writing anything on my list. I still haven't written the No.1 title on my list because I want to do it justice and it crosses a few different topics. I ended up deleting about 25% because they'd either been filled or they just didn't attract me anymore, I wrote up about 33% of them, and the remainder are still on the list. Watching. Waiting. Their very existence a silent and semi-secret accusation. In the end, it was a conversation in the catbox with andycyca that made me stop looking at my list and bang something out that wasn't on there. The ball was then rolling. Another conversation with RO and a bunch of other people made me remember a short series of slash fiction that I started for a laugh (but, you know how it is, secretly wanting it to be good) 10 years ago and never finished. I dug it out of my oldest email address outbox and dusted it off and replotted it. When it's finished, it'll be about 8-9k words that I'm actually pretty happy with. I got some feedback on it that was really helpful and addressed a part of my writing I've been trying to work on for years for my novels. I'm taking it, keeps me going.
As noted above, I've only actually written on around 12 days out of November. The only writeups that I did for Iron Noder that I ever slept on as drafts were the Spock/Uhura slashfics. Everything else got pushed out the same day it was started. I think by the 17th November, what had looked like something I had a real chance of failing at, had instead become achievable. On the 16th, after one of the worst weekends of my life, I pushed 8 writeups. They're alright, they do the job. I'm learning that the perfect is the enemy of the good. That was the day I got addicted to Iron Noder 2020 and really felt like I had a rhythm.
That feeling of rhythm is something I'm going to try to take from this process. It's wonderful that our bodies and minds are organised to get more efficient in the face of manageable resistance. I love the way we find our own process in writing, and experience challenges, plateaus and breakthroughs. One thing I didn't take into account was the extent to which writing begets more writing. One writeup might need 2-3 supplementary definitions that are potentially worthwhile in their own right. A writeup about something from secondary school might trigger a memory from primary school, which becomes a seam you can mine for more material if you choose or need to. This morning it crossed my mind that I might go for "Steel Noder", which is 40-49 writeups. That reminded me of a lad named Steele I met in a hostel in Bruges. The night before I met Steele I had observed a street kid busking in Brussels, which reminded me of a story my father told about his time as a kid selling newspapers. Then I wrote my dad a letter, I might even send it. I'll say it again, Writing begets more writing. You can read that one hundred times, but you don't know how it feels until you know how it feels. I've been in writing routines before, but I'd never experienced an urge to keep writing the way you might get an urge to keep running before.
I guess some people might read this reflection and think, "So what?". I'm writing partly from excitement and happiness, as well as to collect my own thoughts and solidify this practice. These are the best fake internet points I've ever collected. I've shown myself something I didn't know I could do, which I can apply outside of this context. I've exceeded my target for the month. Over 20,000 amateur words in 12 days out of a month! That's the best I've ever done, and I feel better for it. Also more keenly aware of my own shortcomings, which is useful.
Lockdown helped. which is weird. I think of this as the 1st month, if I can sustain 75% of this tempo in my other things for 2-3 months, I'll have a habit, and I'll be even happier. Lockdown has also been stressful, so that excuse not to write is kind of gone, hopefully. It took me longer than I wanted to get started, and I would have been sad if I'd failed. I should have started earlier. Being able to dance around topics is easier than taking a narrative forward step by step, but maybe I should dance a bit more through the narrative in order to keep writing and finish some NOVELS.
I really appreciate this writing community, which is my only writing community. I read amazing things here, and I connect with people and their writing, sometimes people connect with me and my writing. I value it. Through discussion, criticism, care, feedback, reading, inspiration, I've benefited from contact with hundreds of people here this month. I'm tempted to actually quantify that, produce some kind of infographic. I wouldn't have written this many words without this place. I've had messages from people that have really helped my writing, I've encouraged people. I've read tons of writeups. This place is wonderful.
Everybody should buy a copy of "The Plague" by Albert Camus before they're all sold out.