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So, how did NaNo go?

December 9, 2014

Now that National Novel Writing Month is over, I can look back on it and see that it was the least stressful one I’ve ever done. This is most likely because I only wrote a little over twelve thousand words instead of fifty, but I love almost all twelve thousand of these words. I can’t say that about previous NaNos, where all I was doing was cranking out words to get to the magic number.

My “new approach” was to go to the keyboard when I felt inspired, no matter how many other things I was supposed to be doing around the house, or whether I still had two Candy Crush lives to play, or even if I was chatting with a close friend on Facebook. This worked out about half the time, which is still way more writing than I was doing otherwise.

I also went to two NaNo write-ins, which were duds people-wise (two people attending, one person attending), but I got about two thousand words done each done, so really, if I just did write-ins every day of my life I’d probably be fine. Since it’s mostly about allotting time and also getting away from wifi, this should be really easy, but I almost never do it. So maybe I’ll start challenging myself in the new year that, until I’m working full-time again, I go to the library or Panera for an hour a day, turn off the wifi, and type.

I also ended up starting about six of the ideas I did had, switching when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere storywise. I finally settled on something completely different, based on the image of a young woman chalking a symbol on the ground. Magic, yup. That thing I used to say I wasn’t really interested in reading about. This is not actually true (as my husband loves to point out). What I really don’t care for, most of the time, is magic in a pseudo-medieval setting, or magic where there are crap rules. (And yet I still watch Once Upon a Time…) Anyway, I’m enjoying that, and I’m going to keep going with it, because I have so much to discover there.

The second part of my new approach was to re-embrace discovery, and I think that was my biggest success. I enjoyed all the writing I did because I was pulling from that part of my brain that makes things up without me even knowing it, like reaching into a magician’s black velvet bag. What will appear? I have an idea, because I’ve seen magic before, but ultimately I don’t know. Authors often say that when fans ask them where they get their ideas, they don’t know, and there’s such a huge difference in writing to discover and writing because you have everything laid out. It does feel like it isn’t you, and yet it’s so satisfying to the ego. Doing the latter for so many years has made me miserable. If I can reconnect to the former, I think that even when I have something to lay out, the words will flow better.

So I’m going to call the endeavor a success, even if I didn’t hit 50K. And, better than that, it’s December and I don’t feel burned out. So let’s see what happens when I open Word again…

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