Yes, it’s almost here. In 12 more days—or in my case 11 days, since I live in the land down under—everyone who has signed up for this year’s National Novel Writing Month will be punching out words like crazy to meet their word count goals, drinking over-sized cups of coffee (that will be me), and loosing copious amounts of sleep.
This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo and I will be tackling it a little differently this year. I’ve planned, plotted, and outlined until I was blue in the face (not literally of course) because the last two years I dived in head first, completely unprepared, and had no idea what I was doing. I started a new novel from scratch in 2009 (my first year) and even though I made it to the end and reached 50,000 words, I still had no idea what my story was really about or why I was writing it. I started revising what I had and couldn’t believe how much work it was going to need. For starters, the point of view I thought I wanted, didn’t work. So, I change it, tweaked the story a little and then put it away. Needless to say, I haven’t touched it since.
As for my second year, well that was a disaster from the start. I had planned on using NaNoWriMo as an incentive to help me finish my first MS (which I probably should have done in the first year *sigh*). But, that year I barely made it to 20,000 words. Instead I put all my efforts into supporting my daughter doing her first year of NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program. It was worth it though . . . she won, YAY!
I felt like such a failure that year, and I was very disappointed with myself so much that I’ve spent an entire year working to get back to where I am now—enjoying writing, and doing it every day no matter how small or big the word count is.
This year I’m so excited to get started, but still kind of freaking out at the same time. I’m going to do what I should have done all along and finish my MS. But this time I’m so prepared that I know exactly where the story is going and I have plenty of backup ideas if I need them. And when I get to the end of the 30 days and I have 50,000 words, I will be doing the biggest happy dance to celebrate.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Tell me: Do you plot and outline ahead of time or do you just pants it from day one and enjoy the ride all the way to the end?