Hello!! It’s almost that time of year again, that most wonderful time, National Novel Writing Month (AKA November). It’s always a highlight of my year, and a wonderful reminder to keep creating, because our stories matter.
This year will be a little different for me because I’m taking on the role of Municipal Liason for the Skagit Valley region. (Whether that new role will help or hinder my word count remains to be seen.) Regardless, I’m looking forward to getting to know fellow writers in the region and helping them tackle their novels.
I haven’t formally decided on what I’ll be writing this November, but that’s what October is for. Preptober, as it’s often called for NaNo purposes, is all about setting yourself up for success in November. For me, it involves two main areas:
- Novel prep: Brainstorming, planning, and outlining, as much or as little as desired
- Life prep: Planning everything outside the novel to carve out as much time as possible for writing in November!
Since I’ve seen a ton of resources online for novel prep, I’m going to focus more on the second point. For me, this usually involves meal planning and prep, event planning for big events (for Thanksgiving and my daughter’s birthday, as well as ML-hosted NaNo events), general housekeeping, and self-care. It also involves coordinating with other people (partners, writing group, babysitters, etc.) to create a team to help support you during November.
I plan to post more on these topics during the weeks of October as I’m going through the process myself. Happy prepping!
It’s November 4th. It’s been an exceptionally busy week (Halloween + my birthday + my daughter’s birthday), but I’m happy to say that I’m not even *that* behind on my writing.
I’m at 5,000 words!
But I have been getting a little discouraged in my story. As I write, it’s painfully apparent that I have no idea where to story is going (not shocking since I spent hardly any time planning). Even though I knew this would likely be the case when I went into the month, it is a little daunting, sitting down and free writing, no editing, just whatever pops up. I keep thinking, “you’re going to waste your whole month with this?” “This is going nowhere.”
It takes a lot of effort to keep telling myself that this is to be expected, that it’s part of the fun, and that it’s maybe even necessary to get at the soft underbelly of what I want to say–the real story. If I spent all November writing meaningless, disorganized drivel, but came away with a solid kernel on which to base a “real” story … that would be worth it. Or, even if that doesn’t happen, if there are no breakthroughs and no kernels, I still wrote something, and maybe it was something that needed to be written, that will pave the way for ideas later down the line. Maybe it’s just something I need to get out before I can move on to something better.
I do, honestly and from the bottom of my heart, feel that it is really important to trust the writing process. You might not get what you want out of it, but you get what you need. Regardless, it is challenging, to come back to the keyboard day after day with some vague hopes and a whole host of self-doubts. There are so many other things I could be doing, things where success is much easier to gauge, things that are instantly gratifying. So many things that don’t seem as likely to make you look like a complete and utter failure.
Anyway, I just wanted to be honest about how quick and easy it is to fall into this mindset. Hopefully, I’m the only one in the world who feels this way, but I doubt it.