So, I won NaNoWriMo this year. But I cheated.
Okay, “cheating” may be something of an overstatement. I did not write my 50,000 words in a single project, but I did complete or make significant progress on several different projects, and that qualifies me as a “NaNo Rebel” in the NaNoWriMo community, but still a winner.
1) A fun little disaster tale which will be appearing in the upcoming C is for Chimera anthology (look for release details in January).
I’m pretty proud of this one, because while it isn’t the fastest story I’ve ever written, it is definitely the fastest I’ve ever produced on demand, from editor email to finished product in about a week.
2) A short story I’m intending to submit for another anthology this month. I won’t say too much on this one, because it’s not done yet and the deadline’s coming up scarily fast, and it’s a genre that’s a bit of a stretch for me. But I did get about 12,000 words written so far, so I’m certainly giving it the old college try.
3) A novel — again playing with folklore and mythology, but not Japanese or the Fae this time.
What happens when you take the Greek legend of Eros and Psyche, and the Anglo-Saxon tale of Beowulf, and a heaping spoonful of Norse mythology, and shove them all into a high-powered blender? This does. My 2015 NaNoWriMo project.
Already it’s coming out a bit differently than I’d planned — look for that summary to be updated at some point — but I’m quite enjoying myself. I’m only a general planner, so often a story surprises me with what it wants to do, and this one had only the vaguest of road maps to get started, but it’s really started off quite well. I’ll have a lot of rewriting to do (that’s the sad price we exploratory writers pay for not being exquisite plotters), so it won’t be a fast project, but it’ll be a fun one.
I’m trying something different with this book, too. As you can see, there’s a progress bar for this book, and it’s also updating live at the bottom of my site. And there should be a little “Nudge me!” option soon, so you can
nag encourage me to work on the project you want first.
My Secret Weapon
But if I’m honest, I despaired partway through November and thought seriously about abandoning my NaNoWriMo goal. It’s hard to build momentum with several different projects, and then that day I realized I had to write and turn in about four hours of presentation material before the end of the month I really thought, Whelp, there goes NaNo. But I finished the presentations in record time and went on to start the Norse-Greek story.
I have to throw some credit to a new tool I splurged on just last month (November) with some unused AppSumo credits I had. It’s called Brain.fm, and it’s a sort of musical voodoo called brainwave entrainment, “which uses rhythmic stimuli to alter brainwave frequency and thus brain states,” and it’s supposed to enhance your brain’s focus or relaxation or sleep, according to the tracks you choose. I’ve long used music for writing, and at first I didn’t want to lose my symphonic background, but it turned out I really didn’t miss my playlist, because there’s some variety to the focus tracks.
I can’t speak to the relaxation or sleep effects, but I can tell you I feel like the focus tracks really did something. Maybe it was just a placebo effect, but I was banging out a thousand words in a half hour, repeatedly, and that’s not normal for me (or for many writers I know). And as I said above, I finished the presentations in record time. There’s a study which suggests it’s not entirely a placebo effect, but even if it is, I’ll keep it, thanks. Especially for the reduced price I paid, it was totally worth it for November’s to-do list.
You can try it here, and that’s not even an affiliate link. (I already have a lifetime membership, so they can’t give me any more!) You can get a few free trial sessions; let me know what you think.
Next up: finishing that short story for submission, and then the novel, and a non-fiction project.