The great thing about writing a novel for NaNo is you’re not expecting to produce something perfect in 30 days. (If you are, you need to stop that right now!) You’re planning to just create, get something on paper that you can start editing and rewriting in December (or in my case, a year later, but that’s another blog post).
So why not use this as a way to experiment with your writing and your process?
Sit down with a glass (or bottle) of wine and write—discover the next day if you truly can find your muse in a bottle or if adult beverages just make your writing completely indecipherable.
Stay up all night writing, denying yourself sleep or any type of break. I once read somewhere that you are at your most creative when you’re tired (something about boundaries slipping, filters falling away, etc.). Is this true for you? When you read that part of your writing again, after a nap, is it better than what you’ve been writing? Is it a bell curve—where at a certain point in the night you were clearly brilliant and then it fell off somewhat (or immensely) when you reached a slap-happy stupor stage?
Experiment with music. For me, this was playing any music at all. As you’ve heard me say before, I’m easily distracted, so I don’t turn on any music when I write. If you’re the same way, you can try something low-key. If you regularly rock out when you write, try a completely different genre of music, and see if it effects how and what you write. Or when you’re writing about a particular character, imagine what that character’s favorite song would be and listen to it over and over while you write.
(Or try the iTunes Genius function, where it creates playlists from your music library after you pick just one song that you like—for this blog entry, I chose “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama and have now heard “Hazy Shade of Winter” by the Bangles, “She-Bop” by Cyndi Lauper, and “Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle!).
Write in a different room or even a different chair. Write while watching “Glee.” Write while your mom talks on the other end of the phone. Write stream-of-consciousness. Write after taking a Living Room Dance Party break. Write from a different point-of-view. Write outside.Write at Starbucks and order a tea latte instead of an espresso. Take the risk! What’s the worst that can happen?
Okay, so my novel briefly turned into a murder mystery while watching “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”—that experiment didn’t work for me. I’m not saying they’re all going to be winners, people!
(Total aside: “People are People” by Depeche Mode just came on! WOOHOO!)
This is NaNo—no matter what you’re telling yourself, you are NOT going to write the Great American Novel in 30 days. It won’t be perfect, it might not even be readable, but it’s a start. So why not use the time to learn a little about how you write and what you might want to do differently?
(OMG. Gotta go. Genius is now playing “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer. I’m going to experiment with the Dance Party Break while writing a blog!)
[***Postscript: Living Room Dance Party Breaks are a definite “not” for me–they make me way too hyper to go back to writing! Dance and write and learn, I say.]