Last day of October, which means last day for those participating in NaNoWriMo to get their ducks in a row. I will be a spectator this year, because I can write stories or I can count words, and I know which one I’m going to pick. Still, I like the idea of November being a time to knuckle down and get stuff done. Not only is it the time of year when I am pumpkin-spice fueled (sliding into peppermint-fueled as we get closer to December) but the days are getting shorter, the world tucked for the night earlier each day. My office is nice and toasty warm, my chair is comfy, the old desktop does not have the distracting interwebs, but does have trusty old Word and my laptop is eminently portable. I have a plethora of index cards and sticky notes, and there has to be some sort of communal writer oxygen in the air.
This year, I am focusing on two fiction projects; Her Last First Kiss, and the Beach Ball, as well as a plethora of blog posts, and that means I’m going to need some form of discipline, else it all look too daunting and I wander off to bake cookies and watch Netflix. Okay, those things are still going to happen, because baking is good for letting my story brain free float, and Netflix is excellent for taking in what makes for good storytelling. Not giving those up anytime soon, but finding what works for the me I am now does take some measure of concentration and discipline.
I’ve tried NaNo in the past, won some years, did not on others, but almost always was a nervous wreck, fixating on the word count goal, to the extent that I had difficulty watching the movie in my head. Which is a pretty good indication that I need to find some other way of keeping track of my progress. Personally, I like chapters for a larger scale, pages for smaller. Another writer friend is measuring her work this November by hours; her goal is two hours per day writing. I like that option, too, but what I think I’m going to do is what got me to the point of working on two books that I crazy stupid love at the same time. I’m going to muddle through as the spirit leads, follow my nose, and write down what I’m doing as I go. By the end of the month, I expect that I will see a pattern emerge. The theory is that I will, at the end of the month, see what method of tracking feels most natural, and I can carry that over to future projects.
There is a learning curve here. I know I need to see what I’m working on, and I need to touch paper. This may require a few different tries at scheduling, and that’s fine. I probably am going to find a few ways that do not work before I find the one that does, but , as long as I know I am heading in the right direction, I also know I am going to get there. That takes a lot of the stress away. Less stress means more focus. More focus means more pages. More pages mean more chapters. More chapters mean moving closer toward The End. Hitting The End means the draft is done. Finishing the draft means I get to move on to the rewrite.
I fully accept and acknowledge my unicorn status in that I love the rewriting phase. Call it the next draft or edits or beta, or what you will, but going through a completed manuscript with metaphorical scalpel in hand excites me. That’s the good stuff. Okay, ideally, it’s all good stuff, and there are going to be days when I don’t feel like doing any stuff, but (of course there is always a but) as long as I show up and do my part, my imaginary friends are going to do theirs. Hero and Heroine, Girl and Guy; that’s the deal. It’s a collaborative effort. Appropriate that Halloween is the day before November writing madness starts. It’s scary, forging ahead when I’ve failed before, but if I don’t try, then I am guaranteed to fail again. I don’t like those odds, so forward we go. Let’s all have a good month, however we count it.