Reading that post, which is about the need for speed in getting that first draft out, I couldn’t help but think that what it amounts to, for those of us who do NaNoWriMo, is that we need to keep the NaNo mindset year round. NaNo is great discipline for writing at speed. Self-discipline is doing it the other 11 months.
Ah, yes. Self-discipline. NaNoWriMo imposes it for thirty days and you think you’re going to remember that the rest of the year. But it slips away and you find yourself back at the old stand, agonizing over every word and trying to polish every sentence until it glows. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with Taryn, the sequel to Hidden Boundaries. All the ideas were there, but I was dragging my ass, stuck at 15,000 words and either avoiding the whole mess or squeezing out a hundred or so words every few days. And then the epiphany. That’s why people do those unofficial NaNo months!
The thing is, that if you need other people around to cheer you on or exchange angst with, signing on to a NaNo month of some kind is an excellent idea. But if you prefer to peck away in your solitary attic, you can accomplish the same thing by setting a “NaNo” goal: what you want to accomplish in 30 days. It can be starting a new novel or finishing an old one. It can be editing and revising one so that it’s ready for the next draft or — even better — ready to publish.
If it’s a writing rather than an editing month, the main thing you need to remember is that this thirty days is for getting the words down, not twiddling with them. And if you’re not a pantser, why not set aside a month for planning a new novel? Build the world, construct the plot, get to know your characters. When you really know what you want to accomplish and know how to get there, there’s a month just waiting to be filled. There are 12 of them, you know. Every single year. Just think what you can accomplish with all those lined up blocks of time.