October 24, 2016

On Writing (part 2): Prepping for NaNo

A metaphor for my month to come...
Tortoise Battle: Real Tortoise vs Pretend Tortoise (not unlike Real Life vs. Fictional World)
Note: Pretend Tortoise appears to be winning

I've been pretty absent here on the blog of late. I've been writing and revising a lot. And I really haven't had much to say here. I have a few books and recipes I could share...and I will, eventually. But I've pulled out of most social media of late. I can't handle the negativity right now. So instead of talking about any of that, I'll share a little about what I'm gearing up for (besides trick-or-treating).

We are one week from the kick-off of National Novel Writing Month 2016. 

That's seven days to prepare myself and my world for 50,000 words in 30 days. 

Technically, I started prep last week. I got my current "novel under revision" (a middle grade book titled The Smart Girl and the Magic Boy) to a comfortable pause-place, and readied both my November and my December writer's group critique submissions so there will be no extra work there. I finished my November book club book almost two weeks before our meeting so I wouldn't have to worry about that either. And I've scheduled the babysitter for every possible day in November that I don't have some other way to get some kid-free writing time in.

Because I will begin NaNo 2016 by finishing the novel I started writing in NaNo 2015 (a YA fantasy novel currently titled The Firefly Bookshop), I'm kicking off this week by rereading all of my notes and outlining on that book. Then I will read the 55,314 words I've written so far and re-immerse myself in the book's world. And finally, I will make notes about where I want to go when I start writing. 

I'm not going to lie to you, I've put myself in a rather difficult position for this NaNo. The back half of this novel is very complex and involves weaving in outside pieces and research--not easy when you need to churn out 1667 words a day. But, fingers crossed, I'm gonna make it happen anyway.

I don't know how many words it will take to finish this book, but I'm guessing maybe another 30,000. If that holds true, that means I should finish the first draft of this book a little past halfway through November. 

Then what do I do?

I start the next one.

The other prep work I did last week was to review and further flesh out the outline for my next book--a middle grade adventure book called The Knight of Chocolatetown that I'm super excited to begin writing!

And if I need some rescuing at any point, I can always fall back on the "novel currently under revision"...I'm doing such serious revision work on this book that I'm writing lots of entirely new chapters and would have no problem getting my word count going with it if need be.

So that's the nuts and bolts of where I'm headed in one week. 

Now, here's the other side of it...

I am SO excited for NaNo. 

This will be my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo. November is a thrilling (and stressful and scary) month for me nowadays...and I love it. I feel so tired and so alive when I'm writing at the pace required during NaNo. It's a total rush...and like no other experience I've ever had. I become submerged in the fictional worlds of my books-- so much so that I sometimes get confused between what's really happening in my life and what's happening inside the world of my book. Crazy, I know. But they both definitely compete for my time and attention for these 30 little days.

And I'm so excited about the worlds in all three of the books I'm preparing to work on...it makes me wish I really could just live in those worlds for a little while. It also makes me hope I can do a worthy job of transcribing what lives in my head when I'm writing, to something people can one day read on the page. I want you to see and hear and feel what I do.

And that's why I do this. That's why I write. That's why I participate in the insanity that is National Novel Writing Month. That's why I design as many days as I can around "getting some writing time in." I know it may seem crazy to other people. I treat this writing thing like a job. I think of it that way. I just don't currently get paid for it. And not getting paid for it demotes it to hobby-status in the eyes of many. But not in mine. This is my work. More important for me than any paying job I ever had. It's my life's work...along with parenting my kids. I put my best time and effort into both endeavors. 

Anyway, I hope this little update finds you all well. I doubt you'll hear much from me until December, so have a wonderful November. Happy Thanksgiving...and a lovely everything else. I'll see you all again in 30 days and 50, 000 words...on the flip side!

Until next time, be good to each other, be happy, have fun.