Exercises, General, writing

Mid-NaNo Struggles

Confession time: I haven’t worked on my NaNoWriMo projects for the last three or four days. Despite how excited I was for NaNo this year, a lot of the excitement wore off relatively quickly.

For one, my schedule in real life is packed, and very little of it can be ignored until later. For another, I’ve run into a problem where I have so many new ideas I want to work on and get started during NaNo that I’m struggling to stay focused on any one at a time.

Neither of those are insurmountable by themselves. I’ve noted before that I can write quickly, so I’m in no way concerned about ‘winning’ NaNo even with less time to dedicate to it than I usually have. As for the projects, the hardest part seems to be picking and choosing a project to stay focused on–which is again, where being able to write fast comes in hand. An hour or two might give me enough material that when I lose focus I can re-orientate myself with a quick skim.

That however, is addressing both sides of the struggle by themselves. Combined, it gets a little more complicated. I don’t always have an hour or two to get words down, and when I do, it’s also balancing things like writing a post or putting together an image for a short story. That might mean I only have a few minutes left in any dedicated hour to try and get something written, which might not be enough.

I knew going into this month that I was going to be a Rebel this year. While this should be all-new material, I opted not to work on a singular novel. I’d aimed instead to complete four novellas and perhaps some longer short stories. To that end, I’ve done one novella and two stories under 10k each. Getting started and finding a groove for brand new ideas is difficult.

Which is why for the last couple of days, I’ve been taking a new look at all the ideas I had jotted down to work on this month. Some of them are spin-offs from other short stories, which spun into larger works. Several of them are connected through worldbuilding and setting elements.

Knowing that part of the problem I’m having is based on lack of inspiration because I’m trying to get new ideas down to help flesh them out, tacking the dual problem of ‘not enough time’ and ‘too many new ideas’ means taking out one side of the equation. As I said above, by themselves, they’re not hard to solve. An hour or two’s worth of material adds up (for me) to be around three thousand words.

Which, means on stories that are connected through worldbuilding and character spin-offs, I probably have more than just three thousand.

These are still new ideas, but by choosing to focus on ideas that already have all the groundwork laid out like characters and setting, I’m hoping the last half of the month turns out to be a little more productive.

How are you handling your NaNo struggles?


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