This month is National Novel Writing Month, when writers aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
I love NaNoWriMo, but this year I’m taking a bit of a break from routine writing.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice, in 2013 and 2015, and I’m editing my 2013 NaNoWriMo book and some of my short stories and having fun with the process of adding little details and cutting out large chunks (which I save, because I have a hard time letting go).
Basically each week, I’m doing lots of editing and a tiny bit of writing.
In the process, I’m finding that taking a break from serious, constant writing is necessary to get inspiration, to get motivation and basically to hit a mental Refresh. I’m writing in little flashes, instead of my regular routine.
Right now, I’m working on writing prompts and a short story that became a sort of novella but isn’t a novel. It’s just a big fuzzy mess I can play around with, because I’m not working on it with a specific goal in mind. It’s there to work on when I step up to the plate to write—meaning, I’m meeting with my writer friends for a write-in or doing some mentoring with writing students.
Basically, it’s keeping me in the game until I’m ready to go off break and “clock in” rested, relaxed and refreshed.
Writing requires a lot of mental work, processing sensory details from the world, developing character identities and creating plotlines, and this work can be tiring without the balance of a three-dimensional life. Writing takes a great deal of brainstorming, thinking, evaluating, creating and, of course, revising.
Doing NaNoWriMo is a way to speed write through a draft of a novel or part of a draft, so that the characters and storyline are almost happening like real life, because every day, writers show up to do the inventing and creating. It’s quite the opposite of taking a break, but going all out for a project. That’s why I admire anyone who takes it on, both for the commitment and for the magic that seems to happen with fast, furious writing.
I did Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, when writers pick their word-count goals for the month. The first one, I did 15,000 words and the second, 20,000, which spurred me into writing a bunch of short stories, including the one that’s become a novella or something else that I haven’t figured out yet.
It’s all part of the process, going from rest and refreshing to serious, fully-engaged, fast, furious and also fun writing.