This is my third consecutive year of this adventure and I'm starting to feel a bit like a seasoned veteran. I know a bit more of what to expect, I know that I can do it, and I'm thrilled to get started. I am practically sitting on my hands to keep myself from beginning early.
I've been thinking a great deal about why it is that NaNoWriMo works for me. I've talked to many other writers who say it just won't work for them. For me, I've always worked well with goals and deadlines. I like the thrill of procrastination...up to a point. In college, I was never one of those who was literally printing off a paper on the way to class (back in the day when you didn't just email or post your assignments). I would finish the night before, usually by about 10pm so I could get to sleep sometime between midnight and 1am. In the morning I'd give it one last read through, make a few corrections, then print it out on my way to breakfast.
NaNoWriMo is that crunch creative period of the year for me. I have the daily goals to reach (1,666 is the average word count to reach the 50,000 word goal) and a community of writers and friends cheering me on throughout the month. I love spending the month intensely working on a project and then I love spending the rest of the year fleshing it out.
This year's NaNoWriMo is going to be a different sort of challenge. The past two years I've begun fresh, brand new projects with zero preparation. No outline, just a basic idea of who the characters are. I've let each day shape the story. This year, I'm continuing the story of Jezebel and Holden, two very good friends who find each other at a pivotal point in their lives. I've realized over the past 12 months that their story is far from over. There's a whole other book waiting for me to write. In the end, through the process of editing, the two projects may end up being one book, but as I've mentioned so many times before, these characters, and this project, mean a great deal to me and I'm not ready to let them go. I need to find out what happens next.
So instead of starting with a clean slate, I have an entire cast of characters and their histories to contend with. It feels liberating and constricting all at the same time.
This November I have a few things I'm doing different. First, I have a full calendar of social and artistic adventures scheduled. In the past, I'll admit, I've been a bit of a recluse, reluctant to commit myself to social obligations. This November I have breakfasts, lunches, dinners, concerts, and other events all lined up. I've also got 10 work free days in a row, ending with a lovely weekend at one of my favorite places in the entire world, the Sylvia Beach Hotel.
As in years past, I will keep a (mostly) daily blog. It helps me focus, holds me accountable to you (my readers and Facebook friends), and gives me something to look back on when the experience is over. I will also post photos with each blog and a few lines from a song that struck me on that day.
Your comments, likes, etc., inspire me and keep me going in more ways than most of you probably realize. I encourage you to keep up the good work.
Thanks for supporting me as another NaNoWriMo begins!
"That morning the sky gave me a look, so I left while you were sleeping--that's all it took. And I chalked a line south down the coast, going where my thirst was open for the things that I don't know; going where I wasn't paying for the hurt I owe."
from Blind Pilot's song Half Moon