November has once again come upon us and it is time for nano to commence. I’ve always been a huge fan of nano and the opportunity that it gives tentative writers to get their fears out in one giant explosion of writing. The question has been presented to me however… Am I past nano and what it can offer me?
In years past Netto has been a great opportunity for me to get past my writers block and focus on one project for one month. There have been many times when I was scared to go forward with a project because it seems too large or too unwillingly. Yet in recent years despite long jags of writers block I haven’t been having the same problem with getting my ideas out. In fact it seems whenever I do sit down to get a project out I’ve been able to produce large bodies of work very quickly.
For example, I decided this month that I was going to forgo NaNo. It was a conscious choice on my part since I was swamped with other projects such as blogging and going to work and beginning the gaming book that I’m writing — which I will speak more about later. However, day before last I sat down to put what I believed was going to be the beginnings of an upcoming project onto paper. I had no intention of starting a new project altogether! My brain apparently had other intentions.
I ended up putting down nearly 20,000 words into a new project that I am calling, for now, “The Lakeside.” I did all that in approximately 36 hours.
At a recent convention that I attended I spoke to a writing editor who asked me why I was still doing nano if I was not having problems producing. I said I enjoyed it and that was the reason that I kept up with the project year after year. I enjoyed the creative spirit and communal support that nano offered. However what she said stuck in my mind. Is nano really only for those folk having trouble producing work?
The fact is, before my 20,000 word jag I was having trouble producing. I was stuck in anxiety-laiden writers block over all the work I wanted to do. I was having difficulty finding the right words to bring my ideas to paper. Nano this month did give me the impetus to go forward and start on a new project once again. Only at this point maybe the 50,000 word word count is not quite a challenge anymore.
I am planning on finishing this project For NaNo this month, whether that means finishing it at the very last minute like I did last year or finishing it in two days as seems to be what might happen. The Lesson I’m going to take away from this is that I don’t need to be hampered by large word goals, nor by anxiety about producing work. I think I’m proving right now that I can be prolific. The trick now is to be more precise with my work. NaNo does teach you to produce a lot of words at once but it does not teach you how to be specific with those words. Right now I need to focus on quality over quantity.
So will I do NaNo next year? I don’t know. But for right now “The Lakeside” has 20,000 words down and it’s only the middle of the month. I started two days ago. Let’s see where this goes.