Well, it’s that time of year again.
The leaves have abandoned their home in the trees, Halloween is over, the BN Cafe is all out of pumpkin spice, and Christmas songs blare from every store and market. November is here, and that can only mean one thing.
National Novel Writing Month has begun.
This year, I decided to use Preptober to its fullest potential and create an entire outline for my story. It was going to be an experiment in sci-fi, namely superheroes. My October goal was to finish revising my WIP, which I’ve been working on for ten years (yes, I hate my WIP’s guts; I love it to death too). Once my WIP was finished, I could focus on my NaNo goal, which is to write 50K words in the month of November, completing half of a brand-new book!
The problem? That pesky ten-year-old WIP didn’t want to let go of Mommy’s hand. I ended up coddling it a full week into NaNo, and I didn’t write a single word until the 8th.
A wonderful beginning to this year’s novel-writing extravaganza!
Another problem arose once I was ready to buckle down and write something new. My sci-fi project started paling in comparison to a shiny newer idea…one that I didn’t have an outline for.
So, long story short, I’m writing a completely different story than I thought I would, I have no outline, I’m nine days into NaNo with only 2K words, and I have no idea what my story even is or where it’ll go.
The bright side: I have no idea what my story even is or where it’ll go.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a plan. Outlines are super helpful (if not absolutely essential to the most organized of us NaNo-ers), but lately, I’ve been overthinking every idea I put on the page. Having a meticulous outline this year could actually hinder the creative process of writing the first draft.
The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.
– Terry Pratchett
My new goal for this November is to fall back in love with telling a story. I’m trying not to relish the joy of reaching my goal, but rather the joy of reaching for my goal. I’ve lost sight of how fun it is to discover new settings, characters, and stories; I need that love of the journey back.
So! Even though I’m way behind where I wanted to be for NaNo Week 1, I’m going to keep chugging along, discovering what my story is along the way as I enjoy the journey for the journey and not the destination.
And hey, if I happen to reach my 50K goal, that’s great! If I exceed my 50K goal, that’s even better. And if I fall short of that 50K, I’d say it’s all worth it if I reignite my passion for telling myself a good story.
Week 1 Goal: 15K of the outlined sci-fi novel
Success/falling behind?: Falling behind; 2K of a new fantasy novel
Week 2 Goal: 26K of the fantasy novel (we’re playing the pantser this time around)
I’m not giving up: Let’s do this!