London Wrimo Profile: The Rebel
Name: Ben Ingber
Nano name: Enzo
How many years have you done Nano?
This is my seventh year.
How many years have you won?
I’ve won four of six. I won’t win this year because I’m not going for 50,000 words, I’m what the site calls a ‘NaNoRebel’.
Why did you decide to do Nano?
Back in 2006 I was quite active on a creative writing site called ABCTales (www.abctales.com). The forums were incredibly busy back then; it was a fantastic place to give and receive feedback on short fiction, and to get to know people with similar writer-y interests. That’s where I met Dan, who was attempting NaNoWriMo.
I signed up without really thinking it through. It was tough but Dan and I had a friendly competition to see who could finish first, which kept me going. Amazingly, I beat him by just 20 mins on the penultimate day of the month.
What’s your favourite Nano memory?
In true NaNoRebel fashion, I’m writing this in the all-nighter at the Big Green Bookshop. One of my favourite NaNo memories was from this event last year. I arrived with about 46,000 words written and I finished at some point around midnight to what felt like rapturous applause — a moment that makes me smile to this day.
But if I had to pick out one particular memory, it would be the first NaNoRilla. We had no idea whether it would work, who would turn up, whether it would rain… But in the end it went perfectly, and cemented a number of friendships that had been building over the course of the month.
There are three moments that stand out to me particularly, two of them as a result of the event happening to take place on Same Sex Hand-Holding day, and all of which are captured in these photos:
2. Everyone getting carried away with the hand holding, here.
3. … and the amazing writing spot on Blackfriars Bridge, here.
A fun day that I remember fondly.
How is Nano going for you this year?
This is the first year I’m not doing NaNoWriMo ‘properly’. Rather than writing 50,000 words of fiction, I’ve focussed on another hobby of mine — writing about video games. November is a crazy month for game releases, so in October I made a list of reviews and articles I wanted to write and I’ve spent November working away on it.
I write reviews for AVForums so much of the choice of what I’m writing has been dictated by when the review copies arrive in my letterbox, but I’ve tried to spend any time I’m not reviewing on writing features. As at the 24th, I’ve written eight out of the 10 items on my list, so I feel I’m on course to finish.
The reviews have gone live but sadly I don’t think any of the features are publishable just yet — but December is for editing, right?
What kind of Nano-er are you? How do you prepare, plan, etc? (Or do you?)
In a regular year, I don’t do too much planning. I tend to choose an idea and let it rattle around for a few weeks. Towards the end of October I’ll make some notes on how I’d like the first few thousand words to go but nothing more than that. I quite enjoy floundering my way through a story under the pressures of NaNo, it’s what I’ve missed most from how I’ve chosen to approach this November.
Describe your ideal writing environment
I don’t think too much about the environment I’m in. All I need is a hood and headphones and I’m away.
I guess the most important thing for me is my mood. I know how important it is during NaNo to write regardless of motivation levels, but honestly if I’m not in the right mindset I don’t enjoy it and I don’t write anything worthwhile.
Mood isn’t about feeling happy or sad, it’s just about feeling like writing is the thing that I want to be doing. When I feel like that, it doesn’t matter where I am, I’ll be comfortable.
Any Nano advice for others?
I think it’s great that people can approach NaNoWriMo however they like. It doesn’t matter whether you aim for 50k words like the majority, 200k words like Crazy Karl, or a bunch of words about video games, so long as you’re pushing yourself as hard as you reasonably can. It’s reaching that goal that’s important. Good luck!