Tomorrow, I want to talk NaNo prep for #WorkshopWednesday. The practical, organization of thoughts before you launch into the month-long writing marathon. But the physical prep is only part of the process. In order to tackle 50k words in one month, you have to be completely committed to your story and characters. So today I want to talk about the emotional process: how I picked my NaNo project, and what I hope to achieve with it.
I'd be willing to bet most every author has computer files dedicated to half-formed, partially-written novels, some decently started, some no more than scraps of ideas. Creativity doesn't take a break, but it isn't possible to write everything at once, so you have to prioritize.
In years past, I've juggled multiple projects during November, focusing on overall word count rather than completing one book in particular. But this year, I'm dedicating NaNo to one project, with the hopes that the novel will be complete by December first. That project is Walking Wounded, and I'm using the pressure of November to ensure that I commit to and finish the darn thing.
So why did I pick this novel instead of, say, American Hellhound? Several reasons.
- This book is ambitious. It has both contemporary and historical storylines; covers topics I've never written about, and which required quite a lot of research, including first-person interviews; and handles a range of delicate topics across the board, both past and present. It's also a chance for me to try my hand at present-tense narration. It's the kind of book, the kind of story, that makes me question my own writing ability, and in that sense it's exhilarating. I have to push myself to grow, and I most definitely want to grow as a writer.
- Anyone who follows me knows I have eclectic book taste, and that I read largely literary fiction of all sub-genres. For the last two years I've written nothing but outlaw bikers, and while that's been fun, and while I'm so appreciative of the reader response, I really want to try my hand at something more literary. NaNo gives me a way to designate time specifically for this book, to ensure I dedicate myself to it completely.
- I really care about these characters, and have for a while now. I also get little creative shivers about the story itself. But, as it deviates from the Dartmoor pattern I've set up the last two years, there's a small voice in the back of my head that worries about this book being accepted. During NaNo, there's no time to wonder and worry. You just write, and worry about whether anyone will read it later.
- This story has flowed easier and more quickly than anything I've written in the last six months, so I'm taking that as a sign and going for it.
Mostly, though, when I thought about marathon-writing, about my sore back, and too much caffeine, I could only imagine doing it with this book. So in the end, the decision was a no-brainer.
Tomorrow we'll talk about getting organized and ready to tackle all 50k words in one month. I'm feeling very thankful that I still have two weeks left to plan!