This time last year, I was geared up and ready to go for NaNoWriMo like I’ve never been before. I got my idea record breakingly early and was writing backstory scenes and exploring my characters for several weeks before November and official word count tracking began. That project held my attention for a solid four months, and I ended up with at least three novels worth of words. I felt lucky as I was writing, because I was watching so many around me struggle to write due to the everything going on at the time.
This year, the everything is getting to me. I don’t even have any ideas, or past projects I’m considering. I did a little brainstorming last week and have a kernel of a possible idea, but it’s not enough to really spark my attention. Probably because I don’t have any characters yet, just a vague setting and plot thread I could follow.
Most of my projects start with a character (or two). I almost never start with the plot. I’ve been trying to find a character that will grab my attention this year, and so far, I’ve had no luck. That aside, the NaNo prep is actually going fairly well.
I attended a workshop about outlining for novel writing, and the strategy the author presented was actually very helpful for thinking about how a plot is supposed to work. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to apply it prior to drafting anything, but I should be able to use it either as a revision tool, or as something I create once I have the characters established enough to figure out the plot points (or at least the hook and the resolution).
I’ve been preparing my physical and mental spaces, preparing my friends, working with my fellow volunteers on local and global event set up and planning, and getting my calendar sorted out. I even froze some meals and stockpiled some snacks. All I need to do is get a bit ahead on laundry and I’ll be all set as far as everything not writing is concerned.
I’m not too worried about the writing part just yet. I am locally infamous for picking my idea out on Halloween. It’s still early for me to have my idea if we’re looking strictly at precedent. But there’s still a little worry that all the everything is going to get in the way, and I won’t be able to write this year. If that turns out to be the case, then I just need to have compassion with myself and not berate myself. I’ve written a lot of words during NaNoWriMos of the past. One less productive year doesn’t make me any less of a writer, any less of a participant, or any less period.
Here’s hoping your NaNoWriMo prep is going better than mine if you’re participating (especially if you’re a planner). If you aren’t participating, you can check out all the details here and learn about the wacky challenge I take on each November.