Doing NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m coming off my writing hiatus to do NaNoWriMo this year. I seriously contemplated skipping the year, since writing anything is hard in this mood and I have no outline or fiction that I want to write. But that’s simply an excuse not to write, and I’ve had enough of those this year.

So I’ll be doing NaNo. Expect regular progress updates, though I don’t think I’ll have standard blog articles in me.

Who knows? Maybe this will be just the push I need to start writing again for real.

Progress Update

I’m approximately half way through with outlining Surviving the Road (the sequel to Surviving the Plague, which will be my NaNoWriMo project this year).  The good news is that I’m about half way through!  The bad news is that I really stink at middles.

I love the beginning.  I love where it’s going to end.  The middle part needs some spicing up.

Writing While Sick

It’s very hard to concentrate on blogging or writing-related tasks when you’re sick.  I know this from my very personal experience right now, as I’m trying to prepare for NaNoWriMo next month, but also sick with a nasty cold that has been going around.  The problem with being unable to sleep and on cold medication is that I’m also unable to concentrate, and writing requires a lot of concentration.

So what can I do?  Things that don’t require an excessive amount of concentration.  I’m organizing my Scrivener files and moving things to the new file.  I’m updating character sheets.  I’m cleaning up my writing folder on my flash drive, making sure everything is up to date between that and my PC, and backing things up.

I’m getting stuff done.  Just much more slowly.

Deciding The Next Project

As most people who know me are aware. I’m a bit of an organization spaz. So of course, even though it’s only the middle of September, I’m already trying to plan what I’m going to prepare for NaNoWriMo next month.

This is harder than it sounds.

Option 1. I took a break on my work in progress, the Touchdown Novel, to revise and resubmit the Plague Novel. This means that I could go back to the Touchdown Novel and finish it, in which case almost all of my prep is done and I’ll just have to refresh myself on the outline and keep writing from the point of about 15k words in.

However, I remember writing myself into a hole. It may be challenging to pick it up where it is at. And the idea just has no sparkle to me right now. Do I really want to spend 2 months with it?

Option 2. I could start Plague Novel Two, The Sequel. This would require a lot more prep (because I have only the scantest of baby outlines), but the characters are fresh in my head and the ideas themselves have been percolating for over a year now. What I have not done is ANY of the setting research. It would mean a lot of work for October.

And if no one wants to represent the Plague Novel, it could also be a lot of work for “nothing.” But if someone does, then I’m already ahead of the curve and could maybe use the unfinished sequel as marketing to improve the chances that someone actually buys it.

Opotion 3. I could start a completely new project, maybe one of the novels in the Tattoo Magic setting that so far is only home to a couple of short stories. Again, it would be more prep work (even more than Plague Novel 2!), but I love the setting to death and am really excited to explore it more. While I have a setting and some story ideas, I have no characters, no research done, and not even a basic outline. It’s more risk, but possibly more reward.

I know I can write. I know I will write something this November. I know that I will probably write an entire novel by the end of December. The question is… which one? I have less than two weeks to decide.

Wish me luck.

Some Recharging Required

I’ve recently posted about writing with depression. It’s no secret that I struggle with depression. That’s deliberate: the openness of some of my favorite authors about their own struggles is something that inspired me to get help when it was increasingly clear to me that I needed it.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that creativity and depression feed on each other. I’ve heard a variety of people, even my doctor, say that sometimes artists want the lows because it gives them something to draw on. I mean, look at all of these famous writers, musicians, and creative sorts who struggle with depression and other issues!

I think that’s bunkum. I write despite struggling with a mental illness, and it’s certainly not helpful to me.

The conventional wisdom is also that writers write every day. But is this true or another piece of bunkum? I’ve often questioned this idea, like I’m sure my dentist questions people who say they floss every day. Must someone write literally every day to be a writer? Or do writers, at least some of them, take occasional breaks to relax, recharge, and prepare for the next project?

I know I do.

This past week, I’ve been recharging. NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I fully intend to hit the ground running and write if not a full novel, at least 50,000 words. The goal is a full novel; 50,000 words is the minimum. I want to go into October (also known as NaNoWriMo prep season) recharged and ready to kick some ass.

So right now, I’m letting ideas percolate. I’m giving myself leeway to slack off a little. Because this writing career is a marathon, not a sprint, and my brain works best with the occasional break. And I’m trying not to beat myself up too thoroughly for “not writing.”

NaNoWriMo Prep Progress

In the past two weeks I’ve gone from an idea/synopsis and a test chapter, to four half completed character workups, a world overview, two specific setting overviews, a plots and conflicts sheet with bullet pointed try/fail cycles, an outline, a timeline, and a bunch of pages of research (including a text interview with a friend from high school on a subject on which I previously knew very little about, but which is going to be very important to my characters).  I’ve also been writing up my substantive Monday blog posts.  I’m trying to fill my buffer so that you aren’t all left without serious writing thoughts while I’m trying to write 50k words in 30 days.

Tonight, I’m going to attempt to reconcile the plot sheet I did tonight with the outline I did yesterday and break it out into chapters.  In between stabs at that, I’ll be fleshing out character and setting workups, doing research as the need hits me, and generating extra names for my shortlist so I don’t have to get sidetracked by making them up on the fly as I need secondary characters.  I have all morning tomorrow, but I’m going to try to use that to finish up the final draft of my Greed short story so I can rotate that into my submissions spreadsheet.

I’m serious about NaNoWriMo this year.  The more work I get done in advance, the more I can do actual writing in November.