• Alyssa Rogan

NaNoWriMo Week Three Check-In: The Creative Detox

Last time you saw me, I had caught back up with my word count despite the relapse in week one and my lack of passion for the project. What recalibrated my motivation was thinking of this project not as a book, but as a month-long, stream-of-consciousness writing experient. Here's what's going on this week.

I know this boring, but there isn't much more to report this week from last. In fact, I feel like this week flew by. I hit my word count goal every day (occasionally exceeding it by one or two hundred words) and am still on track to finish on November 29th. In case you didn't read my previous posts, I started NaNoWriMo on October 31st and have thus resolved to finish a "day early."

I have had one revelation, however, since last week. I already talked about the need to call this a "project" or a "stream-of-consciousness writing session" since what I'm writing lacks structure. This redefinition has been more motivating and has taken some pressure off. I'm trying to let loose and have fun.

What I discovered this week is that I also need to think of this book as a creative detox. I spent ten months writing the first draft of my third book, and of all the books I've written, this one has been the most ambitious and labor-intensive. I need to see this project as an opportunity to step away, let things simmer, and come back with fresh eyes.

I still listen to the book playlist and daydream about my characters when I drive to work, but other than that, I haven't thought about the book at all. I haven't tried to fix anything or brainstorm what scenes I need to write or rewrite. I'm letting my subconscious do the work. This way, when I do come back to this book, I can edit from a more objective standpoint. The problems I need to solve may also become obvious--problems I probably couldn't have solved with a fatigued brain.

Because my project for NaNoWriMo has been anything but ambitious or labor-intensive, it's become a welcomed reprive. I don't have to think too hard about it or invest much emotional energy. The first week of NaNo, I saw this as a negative. Now, with everything going on this month--increased hours at work, schoolwork for my online certificate program, and disciplining my independent-minded puppy among other things--it's probably a good thing I didn't set out to write another ambitious book. I don't think I would have had the emotional bandwidth for it.

[Sasha and I on a walk yesterday. She loves sniffing everything in sight, lunging at ongoing dogs, and looking longingly up at me for a treat.]

The tone and genre are other things I'm thankful for. Writing a goofy little middle grade "book" after a horror novel feels like drinking hot chocolate after a long walk, or soaking in a hot tub of water after a good workout (I haven't done this before, but it sounds nice, doesn't it?). With the demise of pretty fall foliage and the approach of the winter months, it's easy to let your mind sink into discouragement or depression. As a native northeasterner, I enjoy and endure cold weather really well, but this fun-loving NaNo project has kept my spirits bright amidst the bleak, short-lived days of November.

Anyway, tune in next week to see if I win NaNoWriMo!

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