Last year, I approached NaNoWriMo as an experiment.
I won’t go into detail (I’ve done that already), but the short version is: it worked. I discovered that I can still write, and I can finish a draft without hating both it and the world in general. Yay!
But then I stalled. Without the momentum and deadline of NaNo, I have genuinely struggled to edit (or, let’s be honest, rewrite) the story I wrote last year. I’ve spent most days since then spinning my wheels: outlining draft two, then scrapping it. Starting an outline of a new story. Writing a few scenes that might be another story, or might just be a few random scenes.
I haven’t stopped working on writing projects, but I haven’t really been writing, either.
So… yeah. I’m really looking forward to November.
This year’s NaNo attempt is another experiment: I know that I can make it through the month, now it’s time to build on that. This year, I’ve got two goals. First, I want to focus on building the daily writing routine that I really want, and that I really can sustain after November is over.
Second, I want to work on writing a first draft that really works. It won’t be perfect (obviously) but… I would really like to have a draft that requires editing, rather than a full, page-one rewrite. Which means a better outline—not necessarily more thorough (my outline last year was incredibly detailed… except for that one missing chapter in the middle…), just more thoughtful, I guess.
It’s a difficult thing to define. Everyone’s got a different method, anyway—this is about trying to refine my own method so it works better for me.
So that’s where I stand right now: I know what story I’m going to write. (I briefly considered being a rebel and rewriting last year’s story, but I came to my senses. I’m going with the new thing that I started to outline earlier in the year.) I’ve got the broad strokes of an outline, and I’ve started developing the characters and story world. I got lost in the inevitable Wikipedia rabbit hole. This weekend I’m replenishing my supply of index cards.
One month to go. I’m not freaking out at all.