Monday, October 26, 2020

7 Things: NaNoWriMo in a Pandemic Edition

1. Long time readers can probably guess what I'm going to say at this point.  I've been noodling on book like things since high school.  NaNoWriMo was the first time I finished something that wasn't an assignment for a creative writing class.  It was a mess.  At one point the characters started making up songs.  And singing them.  But I wrote a beginning, middle, and end.  
2. Since that first NaNo I participated in, I've written things during NaNo and outside of NaNo.  I joined writer's organizations.  Took more classes.  And learned more by writing more.  But NaNo taught me I could finish a thing.  
3.  The pace of NaNo is not ideal for everyone.  Let me peel off my official NaNo gear for a sec - if you think the camaraderie of doing a thing while other people are also doing a thing is useful to you, I suggest doing it even if 50k is not a good goal for you.  
4. On the flip side, if trying to aim for 50k and not getting it will depress you, no need to make yourself sad in a pandemic.  And if you do a secret NaNo, where you don't announce and don't even tell anyone until you emerge with a fully formed story, that works too.  
5. I normally advise folks who choose to participate to try one write in. This year everything is virtual.  I'm still going to suggest trying one.  But if learning the forums, and discord, and chat, and twitter, and whatever else your region or group is using to connect this year is too much - then don't.  If you have only been using video conferences for work you might discover they are more interesting when the goal is more fun, and you might not.  
6. It might be clear from this list, but I'm a pantser, in some ways about life too.  I try things, I quit things, I pick up new things.  If all of that makes you itchy, go make a plan.  Just try to leave room - especially this year - for things to work a little differently than expected.  
7.  However you get words is good.  Things that don't get you words - assuming those things are not work, sleep, spouse, kids, taking medication, etc, that you really cannot give up for a month - are not good.  This is an unexpected year.  Processes that worked for you before may not work this year.  That's not you.  But try to appreciate the discoveries.