And that means NaNoWriMo.
You know, for years I avoided NaNoWriMo. I hated the idea, mostly, because people kept telling me to do it. I mean, damnit, I could write a book at my own pace and, by gods, I did. Ooh, the snark…
But last year, right after I left my job, I found myself with a healthy amount of time and decided well, what the hell? Did I have anything to lose? No, not really. I had never really ramped up the writing, personally, always just sort of let loose when I wanted, never wrote to a schedule, etc. I mean, part of that was due to my life. Since I graduated from high school I was either in college, graduate school, working full time, or having and raising a child (or a combination of quite a few of those).
Anyway, what I got out of NaNoWriMo certainly wasn’t that happy shiny feeling of having finished a book. When I started out I’d done that thrice (if you count a full rewrite of one book twice…) so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Plus, personally, 50K wasn’t going to ever be a complete book for me (she of the fantasy steampunk epics, etc.).
What did I get out of NaNoWriMo, then? And why am I doing it again? Mostly it taught me about my own work ethic and my creative process. It forced me to put aside time and appealed to my latent competitive side (which hasn’t seen much action since I was a kid and had a little sister to deal with). It isn’t a matter of winning; I knew I’d win hell or high water last year. I get a little obsessed about these things, I suppose. But when I looked back on it I realize that my output was really high when I just shut up and actually worked instead of a) surfed the internet b) played video games c) watched television or d) made up excuses.
So this year I’m adding another personal layer to NaNo. I’m enforcing a ban on all things “distraction” until I’ve completed my 1500 for the day. I’m even putting the kibosh on casual web surfing (I have to do some for my paid gigs because, let’s face it, I gotta work, too). But until that 1500 is done I can’t do anything else; any writing I do above and beyond that is just fine, of course.
I went back and forth a few times about the actual project, and finally decided to try my hand at a YA idea I had about a year or so ago about a young magician. Her name is Clary, and she lives in a Victorian-inspired city and… accidentally destroys the world when she disobeys her master’s orders. Or rather, she’s lazy and hears the orders wrong and ends up making the world go kablooey. She and her friends then embark on a bit of a world-skipping journey to put the pieces of her own world back together, using magic technology and their wits, all against the ticking of a clock they take with them. (It was either this, the sequel to The Aldersgate or a novella that was a steampunked version of The Song of Roland with chicks…)
At any rate, I will try to post progress here for those intrigued, and you can always friend me on NaNoWriMo if you wish (I’m Natania there)!