The last few years, I’ve chosen a watchword to take me into the new year, a small mantra to remind me of my goals, both big and small.
I keep sitting down to write this post, and it keeps not happening. There’s part of me that feels like it’s not time, yet: I haven’t finished writing the story, so how can I possibly think about any of this objectively? I didn’t write the postmortem for last year’s project until I’d finished the draft, and that worked out well enough. But this isn’t about the story, it’s about the experience.
And this year was a very different experience from last year.
I went in confident that I could do it. Last year was... I won’t say “easy,” but it was fairly straightforward. I wrote nearly every day, and I stayed pretty much on-target as far as word-count went, and then I crashed as soon as I hit 50K, because I’d had a cold for the last few days of the month and the only thing that kept me going was stubbornness.
This year wasn’t like that. At all.
This time last week, I thought I was starting to find the rhythm of the story.
I was wrong.
The first few days of this week were really difficult. I barely got anything written on the weekend, and it took until yesterday to actually get myself back up to par. I still felt good about the story, but the actual writing of it was… ugh.
Three days into NaNoWriMo, and I have a title!
I mean, I’ve also got a little more than 5000 words, but I’m really most excited about the title. And the fact that a few of my characters actually have last names now. That’s nice, too.
It turns out that getting three colds in the span of a month - and dropping Thanksgiving in in the middle of that - doesn’t exactly do wonders for my creativity or productivity.
So… yeah. October wasn’t a fantastic month.
Really, I’m fine with it. It wasn’t great, but in general, I’m happy with what I have been getting done under the circumstances.
It’s been a really good week on the NaNoWriMo-prep front.
Well. Mostly. It started out good.
It started out good enough that I’m not worried about the fact that I’ve come down with yet another cold (or possibly a mild case of the flu this time?), and I haven’t made any real progress the for the last day or so.
I’ve written my synopsis!
I still don’t have a working title, and I keep wavering between whether my story counts as sci-fi or fantasy (I mean… everything in it is based on “science,” but none of it is remotely realistic, and in the end it comes down to “I dunno… maybe aliens? Magic?”), but I have a synopsis, and I really like it.
Last year was the first time I bothered writing a synopsis for NaNo. I’d just never seen the point before - I knew what my story was, I had a full outline, so a synopsis felt like another variation on the theme. And… yeah. It kind of is. But it’s still really helpful.
I got a little bit off-track this week.
I’ve been trying to expand my one-page outline, figuring out my scenes and subplots and character moments and, you know, all the things that turn an outline into an actual story. And, because I’m still tweaking my outlining method, I’ve been looking at what other people say about their processes, reading about outlining techniques, that sort of thing.
(Also: by Tuesday afternoon, I had to accept that I was coming down with a cold. Studying craft was a way to feel like I was being at least a little bit productive, even when I didn’t have the attention span to be working. On the bright side, I’d rather get a cold now than in the last week of November.)
It was probably a mistake.
July has actually been a really good month for me, from a creative standpoint.
I know. I’m surprised, too. Lately, I’ve started every one of these check-ins with a sigh about how weird things have been, but July… actually went well. Mostly. I mean, it didn’t start well, but the last few weeks… I’m really happy with the work I’ve been doing.