T-3 days until NaNoWriMo. How are you prepping for a month of social hibernation and literary frenzy?
In an effort to combat my previously stated issues of getting bored/never finishing anything, I’ve done more prep for my novel-to-be than I’ve done for any piece of writing before. Character descriptions, plot maps, Pinterest boards, pages of notes, almost daily brainstorms with wonderfully inspirational friends. But the one thing that has become increasingly clear to me is this:
You’d damn well better be in love with your idea if you hope to make NaNoWriMo work.
I once wrote a blog about how I believed that the right idea was like the right person. You could try to write a book, but if the idea wasn’t right – if you didn’t love it enough – you would never succeed. Now that’s really only one small piece of the puzzle, but if writing a book really is like a relationship, then you need to love it on a level that transcends “fairytale” love. You need to work on your book the way people work on a marriage. Renew the commitment every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it. Because the love you have for it goes beyond surface feelings like “want to write” or “don’t want to write”.
When you first have the right idea, it makes you feel ridiculously giddy. You’re thrilled, you talk about it all the time, you daydream about the brilliant finished piece. But then that initial excitement starts to fade. Ideally, it’s replaced by something deeper. Maybe not as sexy as the initial “head over heels” thought process, but more sustainable. And that’s what you need to get you through the writing process. A deep commitment to your idea and the characters you’ve created. That’s not to say you shouldn’t still strive for the excitement. You should. We need the writing equivalent of planning a date night to make sure the spark is still there. But remember that some days this will seem like the hardest thing in the world. And you won’t want to write, but you’ve got to, and you’ll have to push yourself to make it happen.
Those may well be the days we feel most rewarded. The days when we didn’t feel the love, but we felt the commitment, and we accomplished something even when every fiber of our being didn’t want to.
Best of luck, my brave NaNoWriMo warriors. We can do it!