All NaNo-Eve

The 31st might be Halloween which is important to some people. However, for me it’s important because it’s NaNo-Eve, the day before NaNoWriMo begins again. I know it’s not the 31st yet, I may do another post before then, or maybe I’ll do a mid month post. Last year I forgot to do a pre-NaNo post so I did one on day ten, that could work for this year too.

Anyway, last year I wrote a NaNo retrospective, as I often do, and I listed some goals for myself.

The Writing Plan
– To write a minimum of 1000 words, five days a week.
– To finish Book Two by the end of January
– As a bonus work through the flash fiction course
– Make plan for February at the end of January, probably in my new house.

How did that work out for me?

Well consistency has gone out of the window completely. Forget that, even when I was writing it wasn’t on a regular day to day basis. The first draft of book two has been completed – this month. Yup, I didn’t finish that until October. I also haven’t touched the flash fiction course.

All told those goals didn’t happen. Ok, so what did happen?

From last NaNo to this: a retrospective
I moved house February 13th and everything went extremely well to begin with. Seriously, it was all very awesome. I had my plan and everything was working out. In March I revised Book One and reworked my plan for Book Two. April was Camp NaNo which was convenient, so I decided to write Book Two’s first draft then. My tentative plan for May was to write something else, the first book in another series perhaps.

Well, I got to 35k in April. That smashed all previous records for words written outside November, I was doing really well and I was feeling confident and happy. I believed that I could do my goals and I could see myself pressing publish in 2015. However, yup there is obviously a big but coming … I started some medication for my skin that month (I had bad acne) and I had a really bad reaction. When I say bad reaction I mean halfway through April I ceased to function, I barely managed to get out of bed, I couldn’t cut up my own food even, it was bad.

I don’t usually post personal stuff on this blog but I suppose I want to explain that it wasn’t laziness that prevented me from meeting my goals. Well, not entirely anyway. I did have a legitimate medical excuse for being such a slacker. I started to recover from the tablets and I decided to take part in Camp for July. Given that I’d had such a break from doing anything I figured I would start a new project, one that wasn’t as complicated as continuing Book Two, to ease myself back into it.

That did not go well. I wrote the first few scenes of the new story and hated it so much, I’ve put it in the archive as something I’ll probably never touch again. In desperation I just started typing and I started writing something random, which I actually do really like. However, I need a plan before I can write something properly, so I wrote about 5k of this new idea before shelving it to come back to later. I then tried to go back to Book Two and wrote maybe 2k before I just lost it to the procrastination monster.

Fast forward a couple of months and I have a new issue to deal with – my shoulder. I think I mentioned a few posts back that I’d dictated that post as my shoulder hurt too much if I did a lot of typing. Well, I’ve seen the consultant and had scans and it’s not a big deal, it’s just a frozen shoulder, which will get better on it’s own – in about eighteen months. Thankfully, it has calmed down a lot and is nowhere near as painful but it’s still something I could do without.

However, finally this month – October – I got Book One edited and it’s with beta readers and I finished the first draft of Book Two. As drafts go, Book Two’s is pretty damn awful but I can at least fix it because it exists, I can’t fix a blank page. Plus it’s finally done, it dragged on for far too long like this heavy anvil that dragged everything down.

Ready or not, November is here
That’s about what happened this past year. It wasn’t what I wanted to happen by a long shot, it’s disappointing. I feel like the new start I made last November, and sort of managed to continue with until April, was ruined by what happened afterwards. However, I guess sometimes things happen, it sucks but there’s nothing to be done. I can’t go back and change what went down, all I can do is try and move on and do better in the future.

That’s kinda depressing so I’ll try and bring some hope back into the picture. This November, it’s another shot at a start for a new year – a better year. Sure, I have caught a cold and feel like death warmed up, but it’s just a cold and it won’t last all month. Right, so how is the planning going for next month?

I absolutely love my new idea. There, that’s a positive thing. It’s Book One of a new series and I really love the concept. However, couple of not so good points. My outline is only half done, I have no title, no series title and no greater universe title. At the moment on NaNo my project is Untitled (#1 Untitled) which is very sad. I like to fill out everything and put up a temporary cover but I’m running behind this year.

There is three days left to prep, including today, if I can make my brain cooperate then I should be fine. If I can’t? Well, let’s not go there. I can’t write without an outline so I’ll be screwed and that’s really not helpful.

My goals for November this year are much more modest than last years. I have tried to take to heart that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Plus, with my issues with typing, and possibly dictation if my voice doesn’t return (damn cold), I’m not going to be breaking any records for speed.

I hang out in the Beyond 50k section, as I find it very inspirational as everyone there is so positive. Therefore, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t considering a goal beyond 50k. I would like to beat last years total of 61k, and it’s a long held dream to finally crack triple digits and reach 100k. However, being reasonable, my true goals for the month are to write every single day (there’s a site badge for that now) and to finish the first draft. Everything else, is secondary. This is my life now, not just one month a year.

Bearing that in mind I’m not sure whether to break with tradition or not. Every single NaNo that I have won I have stayed up till midnight to write at least a few sentences. Every single NaNo I have failed to reach 50k, I have sensibly gone to bed and started in the morning. It’s superstition, and it’s ridiculous, and it has no place in a life where I write all year round, not just in November. However, superstition is a powerful thing, I want to be successful this month after all, so I don’t know what to do.

The future beyond November
I should really write this after November, during the retrospective. However, things might change so I suppose it doesn’t hurt to say what I’m thinking now. I said above Book One was with beta readers, I’ve had some feedback so I need to make a few changes. I’ve also commissioned a cover for the book and bought my ISBN’s – this publication thing is really happening.

My target date was December, I’m hopeful that if I manage to make the changes to Book One early in November that I will still be able to hit publish in December. It’ll be a lot later in the year than I’d hoped but I would still have pressed publish within 2015.

In December I plan on revising Book Two. What I do in January depends on what publication schedule I decide to follow. If I decide to just publish my current series, then my intention would be to write the first draft of Book Three in January. If I decide to publish both series concurrently, then I would revise Book One (this NaNo project) in January and do the first draft of Book Three in February.

Naturally these plans all depend on me actually following through, getting on with doing all these things. That is something far easier said than done. However, while 2015 might not have gone according to plan it didn’t completely suck. I did manage to do some things and I learned more things which will hopefully help in the future.

I did take this blog down for a while as I was worried it was unprofessional. I put it back up because I missed it too much. I’m still not going to link the two places officially but this is me, this is who I am for better or worse. I guess I shouldn’t be ashamed of that.

Three days to go and a lot of prep left still to do. I’m a little panicked that I won’t be ready in time but I have hope. Besides the worst thing that could happen is I have a poor start to the month because I don’t start on day one. That’s not good, I don’t want that to happen, but if it does then I just need to make sure I finish strong.

I can do this, NaNo is my favorite time of year, it’s the dawn of new possibilities, a fresh start for a better year. Nothing can stop that from being true, no matter what.