Preptober 2020

Are you participating in Nanowrimo? Admittedly, I haven’t participated since 2017, when I wrote 50,000 words and finished the first draft of my novel. I had a really good experience that year, but I haven’t been able to garner enthusiasm about it since then. Sometimes word counts are extremely helpful. Sometimes they can be detrimental to productivity because I’m putting too much pressure on myself.

Back in August, I had dreams of finishing up the next (hopefully close to final) draft of my current novel by the end of October so that I would finally be able to start my new project in November. The novel needs a few new scenes written, a little bit of expansion, a little bit of clarification, and then final line edits. I thought I had plenty of time to get this done in the next few months. But I’m also building up a business right now, which takes a lot of time and effort. So I haven’t had as much time to work on my own writing as I thought I would have. Part of me is frustrated about this, but the rest of me knows that it’s okay to accept this season of life for what it is. A lot of building business, not so much work on my own writing. Someday soon the pendulum will swing in the other direction, and that’s just fine.

So anyway, I’ve been trying to think of a way to do Nanowrimo but not put a lot of pressure on myself. I’ve tried to work on my next project before finishing this one and so far, it hasn’t worked out. I get stuck and go back to my last novel every single time. I am convinced that I have to finish this project before I start another one.

I think I may have come up with a solution, though. If I don’t manage to finish my current draft in October (I won’t), I’m just going to make a new Scrivener project specifically for Nanowrimo. Instead of pressuring myself to work on a new project every day, I’ll just ask that I sit down and write every single day. I’m thinking I’ll make three sections — my old project, my new one, and journaling. As long as I sit down and write every day in one of those areas I’ll count it as a win. And it’ll be easier to get to 50,000 words for the month if I’m expanding what the definition of a “novel” means.

I wanted to share this because I am sure that there are other people out there who don’t feel like they’ll have the time to complete a new project in November. Especially if you’re feeling the pressure to plan it out perfectly this month. For me personally, it’s enough if I sit down to write every day, even if I don’t have a new manuscript at the end of it.

The thing I love about Nanowrimo the most is the way it helps you to form a habit of writing. It makes you sit down every single day to create, even if you’re not in the mood for it. That’s the kind of inspiration I’m looking for as we move towards the end of the year.

Let me know if you’re participating too!