Writing: Prep’ing for NaNoWriMo

This weekend my husband asked me if I’m doing NaNoWriMo.  I looked at him like he asked if I wanted to go on a 90-day fast.  Of course I’m doing NaNo.  I will almost certainly fail but damnit I have to try. So we talked a bit about what we needed to do in order to prep for NaNoWriMo/Nov.

In some ways his work schedule will probably help – he works until pretty late so I’ll have most/all evenings without him distracting me. Now I just have to have discipline not to let anything else distract me: food, cats, books, movies, tv shows, and of course the ever-present House/Garden fights.

I also need to decide what I want to write.  Do I want to try a re-write, add-to-writing, or a fresh write ?

Re-write is the easiest of the three. It is not really the spirit of NaNo. BUT, I do have something I’ve been mulling on the world/plot and I can’t just edit it into place. It would require a 100% re-write.  But…. not really in the spirit.

Then there is the add-to-something-already-started.  You know, finish something.  This is closer.   I have a lot of half-done projects and more-than-one of the writers I admire says “FINISH it.  No matter how ugly it is, get a conclusion.” This would be fresh(ish) thoughts and a good thing as far as well – finishing something.  But it still feels a little like a cop-out on the spirit if not the letter of NaNo.

The third option is the most “pure” to the purpose of NaNo.  Staring at the blank page intimidates a lot of writers.  I’m actually not one of those (I’m weird, I know!). The blank page is exciting to me. It is limitless possibilities.  It is the perfection of those first few sentences and words that can set the whole tone for my writing.  Honestly, it sets the the tone per section – every time I sit down to write I get a little of that excitement (until I write myself into a super-painful corner).

The other big benefit to this “100% new” approach is it’s a good opportunity to try something completely new.  I’ve done this several times and gotten to explore different genres and characters and plot-styles.  Some of them I walked away hating (and not reaching 50k) and some of them I incorporate into my existing works.

At the same time, sometimes these “adventures into the new” are my excuse not to push through and finish something I’m struggling with.  It lets me avoid the painful parts of a story and by the time Dec comes around I’m so disillusioned with the old story… it’s that much harder to step back into the painful push-past-the-hurtle part of writing.  So that story might swirl and float and eventually drown and disappear. I don’t want to be the person who never finishes. And yes, I can already safely remove the “never” – I have several FINISHED pieced. Still might be crap, but they have AN ending.  Still…

So, I have these three options and about a week to decide which one to follow.  Do I take the “easy but not-quite-true way” the “harder but healthy-if-not-true way” or the “easy but true way” to participation in NaNoWriMo.  Because none of these are outside the official rules, they all are technically viable.  I’m putting my own lens on the rules, so I might be completely off base on my assessment of the ways. I feel these are in line with the spirit of the month.