So NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has ended, and yes I participated. I did, unfortunately, not reach the goal. A vacation involving Mickey Mouse and a cruise, kind of got in the way, but despite that hurdle I was able to reach 43K by the end of the month. Regardless of whether or not I won or not it was an experience I am proud of and only hope that the feverish banging away at the keyboard will persist into some sort of regular habit. A writer writes, right?
So what did I learn? I learned that outlines are good and necessary for taking on a feat of 50K works in a month, especially since a day job, kids, daily obligations, and so on are always there to keep you from that one thing you really want to do. It makes you realize that even though there is all this stuff in your life there can be a little time, here and there, to do the thing that makes you grin with the satisfaction of achievement. After I returned from my vacation, which I did manage to write although it wasn’t anything up to the daily standard, I spent any time I had with my laptop in order to try and catch up. Some of those nights where I could have turned in after reaching the normal daily goal I pushed on to rack up word count. This may sound like an act in filling space with exhausted yammering, but in most cases I found my story heading in directions I never planned. I explored thoughts that never reached the outline I thought was pretty damned thorough. In short, I surprised myself because it made me wonder if I would have found these avenues if I had not pushed myself further than my comfort zone.
When the month began I had two stories I could go with. One was a continuation of The Price of Favors (you can check out the first three chapters here, here, and here), a novel I wrote some time ago and have been working on for quite some time. The other was a new project spawned from a short story I wrote while at a friend’s house. Both had possibilities, both were things I was ready to write about, and I took the one that seemed to be the harder one. I could have continued a fictional universe and developed that world as I saw fit. I could even change it if I wanted to, but I went with the other. Why? Because it kind of scared me. I knew there were things I wanted to get out of my head in both stories, but the one I chose seemed to need to get out, or I wanted to explore those thoughts more in depth than the other could allow. The choice was made, and I set forth on my quest.
Now, it’s done, one of them at least. And now, I wait a little while and see what it’s like to read what I’ve completed. I’d love to delve right into it, but I think I’ll have to get busy with the next project to clear my head. I’ll need a deadline. I’ll need to take time out of my schedule to get things done. Not having the the pressure of NaNoWriMo hanging over me makes it harder in a way. To be honest, I liked having that looming deadline hanging over me. It gave me a reason to step away from what I normally do to find out what would happen next with the characters I created in a world all their own. I now have to do it again, and again, and so on.
Writer’s write. Right?