I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo 2014 (for those veterans of the challenge) for the month of November. I’m really going to put my creative thoughts and techniques to the test with this challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days from November 1st to November 30th.
I’ve asked myself:
Should I write every day? (yes)
Should I write on the weekends? (yes)
Should I enjoy Thanksgiving? (yes)
Should I ignore my family? (no)
Should I ignore exercise? (no)
Is my other writing, editing, business, health, etc going to suffer? (not necessarily)
I’ve already relied on several techniques to get these first few days of the challenge off to a good start. I also reminded myself burn out can come easily on the first few days. What this challenge does for creativity is take what I think of as easy-going, free form, and something where I have all the time in the world and slaps on this huge amount of stress and pressure. Typically what happens in times like this is I can’t find my creativity. It runs away because it doesn’t like me when I’m stressed and angry. Grrrrr. In prior challenges I jumped in with my feet tied and wondered why the process was sooooo overwhelming.
Here is what I’m doing differently. It took a little bit of planning (no you say, you didn’t go there). Unfortunately, considering everything else in life right now I had to suck it up and plan before Nov 1.
- I took the time to create an outline of my NaNoWriMo Novel. I’m not a plotter. I fly by the seat of my pants because I find my creativity is really a thrill seeker. So this outline is a suggestion. I have ideas I jotted down in a forward flow so each day I can read the short paragraph for my current chapter and go from there. Don’t worry. I’ve already deviated from the original but I’m starting with a word filled page so the muse isn’t scared.
- I’m planning dedicated writing time where it’s quiet and there are few interruptions. I can usually work around interruptions but now it’s a time crunch. There are other tasks. I have to become very efficient with my time. I know this means I have to get up early and possibly stay up late so I am not ignoring important aspects of life like being with family and exercise.
- I’m recording my pedometer count right next to my word count. I got into the habit of daily walking prior to Nov 1 so this next step is easy. If the muse says I don’t want to NaNoWriMo right now, we go for a walk and then come back and get busy. A method of creativity is deployed during this phase because I make my muse chat with me on the said walk so we know what our respective responsibilities are. (Yes, I chastised my muse.)
- I’m not going to ignore life. This challenge is difficult. It’s during the time of year when it’s getting darker outside and colder for some of us. It’s also during a major holiday month where there are family obligations and possible travel. But I’ve used those reasons as excuses to say it’s too difficult and not possible. But really they are only excuses. There is time to write and time to relax.
- I’m also editing a prior work at the same time as this challenge. The smarter me says, don’t edit. The even smarter me says, keep doing what you were doing. There are always going to be edits. Just remember - there is no need to edit my NaNoWriMo Novel until after I type The End on November 30th 2014.
This is one creativity challenge I used to keep me fresh. If you are participating: good luck and happy writing.
Photos from despoitphotos.com