Ask a Busy Person: Why I’m Doing NaNoWriMo This Year

Someone recently told me that if you want something done you should ask a busy person to do it. As a busy person, then, I will tell you that I’m planning for something completely ridiculous: I’m signing up for NaNoWriMo this year, with the intent of writing, if not 50,000 words, at least something worth mentioning on the sequel to Dark Empire.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve experienced joy, stress, panic, fear, anger, and several other worthy emotions in our household, mainly due to some family medical crises, but the only one I’m excited to share is the birth of the Stowaway. He makes all the rest somehow less terrifying with his precious presence. As a new mom, I will admit to some sleep deprivation and aggravated hormones, which I keep trying to remind myself are writing gold. While we’ve been praying about these challenges and trying to stay emotionally afloat, I’ve been keeping an informal diary of my thoughts and feelings, and I’m sure I’ll be mining it someday—though not today or anytime soon, when everything feels too fresh and raw.

Instead, for now, I want to focus on producing words on my many projects:

  • An urban paranormal short story I’ve been trying to wrap up while I’ve been on maternity leave
  • The research phase of steampunk as a possible setting device for another story.

Meanwhile I haven’t forgotten to Free Worvanz: some ideas about Del and her future adventures have been percolating, and I’m gearing up to scribble about them during the month of November: I have an outline, I have characters who are developed, and I have a plan.

You might not see too much of me on the blog during November, but funnily enough I have more posts scheduled for November than I have for most of this year. So I completely lied: you will be seeing A LOT of me on the blog this month while I proceed with NaNoWriMo. I’d love to hear from you, especially encouragement as I attempt to tackle this 50,000 word goal.

The last time I did the challenge, in 2011, I discovered that I wrote 22,000+ words in the month of November, which nearly doubled the word count of the project I was working on. That project, or at least the part I had completed prior to attempting NaNoWriMo, became Dark Empire. And it is upon these 22,000 words that I’m building Book 2, which was originally going to be Part 2 of Dark Empire in a single novel.

Obviously my expectations for what volume of plot I could fit into a novel-length book have been seriously revised over the last few years. Given that the project I want to write mirrors the one that I had already started, it seemed like November was a great time to brush off the manuscript again and try to get into the groove of writing some more. As a writer, I love repetition and reflection as plot devices, so why not apply the same technique to the act of writing?

Thanks to a very interesting podcast on Rocking Self Publishing about writing 5,000 words an hour, I’ve also been trying my hand at more speed writing, turning off my inner editor and allowing myself to write with typos and then go back and edit everything later. Hopefully that new effort will manifest itself as a useful habit during November and I’ll be able to demonstrate improved writing productivity. I still write very linearly, proceeding start to finish in mostly a straight line and then throwing out the words in nearly the right order. The exception to this method is in the editing phase, where I go back to the beginning and add back in all the juicy details I left out in writing the first draft. Must be the engineer in me: I can only draw straight(ish) lines too.

What are your thoughts about loading up the plate of an already busy person?


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

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