If you’ve been keeping up with my Twitter updates, or if you just look at the sidebar with the NaNoWriMo calendar (if you can’t see said calendar, click on the banner at the top of this page and it’ll take you back to the main page), you already know that my progress this year on the annual National Novel Writing Month has fallen well short of my expectations. This has happened with numerous other NaNoWriMo attempts in the past. On most occasions, it’s been a case of the story simply running out of steam or the idea lacking the kind of strong foundation needed to build a story on. But this was just a matter of bad timing.
Right before the onset of November, I was asked to edit a novel. I don’t believe I’m at liberty to say much more than that at this point. But the who and why isn’t important, just that I had a task I agreed to. I actually have until January to complete the editing job, but because it was there and needed to get done, whenever I found myself struggling with my own writing, I would just turn to the editing project. This was partly procrastination, but also a helpful tool. If you’re struggling with feelings of inadequacy over your own writing, I’d suggest editing or proofreading someone else’s work. You may find yourself thinking as you go, “hey, wait a minute…I can do this stuff, too!” I found that happen to me as I was editing Pro Se’s Monster Aces anthology. And it did help recently, because as I was editing this current project, gears started turning in my head in regards to my own writing.
Another thing that came up was a potential regular writing assignment for a bit more wider exposure than I’m typically used to. Again, it’s too early to say anything about it now, but I also started work on writing some stuff for that. I also had some non-writing professional obligations, with a two-day teaching conference that involved being away from my computer and even notebook for pretty much the entirety of those two days.
But the important thing about NaNoWriMo isn’t necessarily finishing on time. The important thing is to get writing again. It’s been close to a year since I completed a writing assignment (that would be my Ian Morris story for this past summer’s Tales of the Rook anthology). So getting sixteen thousand words finished in what, according to the calendar, has only been about a week of actual writing is not too bad in itself. I had started off strong, meeting my daily goal of two thousand words, but as the month and story went on, other things started popping up and I hit roadblocks.
I don’t think I’m going to call it quits on this story just yet. It has some real promise and some things that need to be worked around, but I believe I can finish it. I may need to switch gears and look back at another project that’s been stalled for a while. This novel I’ve been editing has elements of fantasy to it, as does another project of mine that’s been sidelined for a long time, and that gave me some ideas.
We’ll see how it all progresses. As we say in Japan, ganbare!