NaNo-ing outside the box

Since the majority of my writing time is actually spent revising and honing in on a story, NaNoWriMo doesn’t often fit in with my process, but a couple years ago, I found myself starting a rough draft right when November was rolling around. So I gave it a try, and found that when the timing is right, NaNo fits in with one of my messy exploratory drafts just fine.

Last year the timing was very not right–I was deep in revision mode in November. But this year it is again–sort of.

After taking some time off after finishing a book, I’ll be ready to dive in in November, but I won’t be ready to dive in to any one thing. I need some time to play, to listen for story voices, to poke and prod and explore all the many projects that have been whispering to me the past few years.

So my plan for November is simply to let the voices in.

That is, to work on whatever I want to, for as long as I want to. To bounce from project to project or, if one project grabs me by the throat as I’m doing so, to let it grab me and follow it. And along the way, to be open for any new voices that may want to whisper the beginnings of stories I haven’t thought about yet to me. My stories begin with voice, more often than not, and that stray line or stray scene I write down now could be that novel I work on in five years, or ten. Bones of Faerie began with a scene like that, actually.

So this NaNoWriMo I’ll be listening, and following whispers and whims, and just generally giving myself permission to play for the first time in a while, in a different way than in the way all writing is ultimately playing.

It’s not the traditional way of doing NaNoWriMo. But no one can stop me. And the only real rule for writing is, what works, works.

If you’re NaNo-ing too, in whatever form, my NaNoWriMo page is here.

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