A month ago, I proudly announced that I was going to attempt NaNoWriMo for a second time.
Then I wrote something, dumped my story idea a few days in because it wasn’t working, and tried starting another story from scratch. The new story lasted through only a single day-long writing jag of 5,000 words before I sputtered out and didn’t put pen to paper again for the rest of the month.
So yeah, NaNoWriMo 2012 has been a dud.
There are 2 major reasons why this year’s attempt made a huge belly flop.
- The World Fantasy Convention really threw me off-schedule. On November 1st, I wrote 500 words of my first story before heading off to the convention, and promised myself that I’d write 500 each day until the 4th. I vowed that after that I would ramp back up to the daily goal of 1,667. Then I realized on the 2nd that keeping my promise was going to be impossible because WFC was so frickin’ awesome, and I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the hotel. So, yeah, the huge funtastic convergence of figures from the publishing world won out over plugging away in front of my laptop. Whodathunkit?
- My daily routine has changed drastically. As I’ve mentioned before, earlier this summer my employment status changed and I decided to become a freelancer as a result. However, this month, my employment status changed again. I’m now doing a short-term project on a contract basis with a new company. My daily routine has been in a lot of flux this month, and if there’s one thing that NaNoWriMo requires, it’s the opposite of flux (for me at least). In addition, the job I had before allowed me to compartmentalize. Last year, the act of returning home from work made it easy to switch gears. Now, though, I’ve been at home a lot more, so the mental divide between being “at work” and “at home” has become a lot fuzzier.
There were a few other factors that led to me not reaching 50,000 words this year. For one, I still haven’t gotten last year’s story out of my head, and I think I’m coming to the realization that although I want to let go of it, it doesn’t want to let go of me. I’ll need to sit back down with my old story and rebuild it.
For another thing, the first story that I attempted in 2012 didn’t gel properly when I wrote. I had these lovely images in my head, but had no idea what to do to make them come to life – it seemed like they didn’t want to flow down my fingers onto the page at all. That experience was worlds away from what happened in 2011, so I abandoned that story. The second story I began felt a lot more natural, but my attempt to catch up by writing 5,000 words in one day left me so tired that I didn’t feel like trying anymore.
I still think this experience was instructive because I had the strength to realize my first story wasn’t working – and the moxie to try and attempt a second one instead. However, I need to give serious thought to what writing schedule works best for me, and then figure out how to foster that kind of schedule.