Who’s That Girl?

MrsKravitzOh, look, Abner! It’s that weird girl who used to be at the Cafe all the time. Do you think she’s back for good?

No, Mrs. Kravitz. I’m not back for good, yet. I’m back for NaNo. Now close the curtains before you see something really upsetting.

I know. I said I would be gone for a month or so. That was–what?–eight months ago? Nine? I don’t know. It’s all a blur. I’ve published ¬†two more books ¬†since then. Seriously. And I wrote a book without it being NaNo, for the first time ever. And I went to Disney World. And I showered.

I haven’t forgotten you, though. I promise.

And here we are for NaNoWriMo once more. This is my fourth time around. I sold all three of my previous NaNo books, and they’re out in the world. This one is already contracted and due to my publisher February 1st. So, you know, no pressure.

The pressure, actually, always comes from me. Last year’s meltdown was not pretty. I’d somehow taken it into my head to pull a double NaNo. By week two, I’d already burnt myself out and was idling in neutral, writing zero words. I pulled it together and made it in the end, but it took a lot of catching up.

This year is my first year doing this from a blank page. Up until now, every NaNo has started with 15-20k already written. By the end of November, I’d type “The End” and be done. This year, I started on page one. So, being an idiot, I thought maybe I should aim for 70k instead of 50k. I calculated it would only be 667 more words per day to pull it off. Piece of cake, right?

Wrong. This is my job now. I should be doing this five days a week. But it’s NaNo, so in order to complete the goal, I have to do that seven days a week. For a full month.

I am the most erratic, inconsistent person I know when it comes to work habits. It hit me a day or two ago that this is the lesson NaNo is here to teach me–consistency. I tried to learn it last year, and I crashed and burned. Sure, I won NaNo, but I learned nothing. When it came time to write a novel on my own (it was due to my publisher August 1st, so I couldn’t wait for NaNo to pull me through), I was all over the map. If I hadn’t ultimately had a deadline, I never would have finished.

So, this year, it’s all about the minimum. 1667 words. I won’t be having any 6k days that make me giddy, then knock me out of the writing for two or three days. I won’t be taking a few days off, then killing myself to catch back up.

This year I’m going to pretend like I’m a professional who writes for a living. Because I am, and I do.

But I still reserve the right to slam multiple Pixie Sticks at write-ins, dye my hair weird colors, and paint my fingernails to match my main character’s personality.

See you next week. I’ll check in and let you know if I’ve grown up yet. Because, seriously, what I just told you is only the latest in a series of ridiculous plans.

We’ll see. We’ll see.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.


1 Comment

  • Jason Arnett says:

    I’m getting the same thing out of NaNo that you are: consistency. I looked back at the last couple of years’ stats and found that somehow I’m hitting pretty close to the same numbers on the same days. Now I just need to be able to do this when it’s not NaNo. Still lots to learn.

    Glad you’re back, though.

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