I've learned several things so far this year. First, there is a huge difference between being six months pregnant and attempting to push through pregnancy exhaustion to stay up late so you can write a novel in a month and trying to find time to write with a 9 month old who is highly mobile and needs constant care. Baby Sister also chose November to decide that by staying on her well-established daytime nap schedule meant staying up until after ten so Mommy can't write until way late every night; on top of no extra time while she is awake, of course. It is what it is... and it's one reason I think coffee was invented!
Second, all novel ideas are not created equally. I wasn't very focused on writing in the weeks leading up to November and didn't really have a "great" idea for this year's novel. Last year my idea was amazing and I had several months to work out at least who my characters were and the basic idea of the story. Not this year! I conjured up a little nugget of something based on a "what if" kind of situation and tried to flesh out an entire novel from that nugget. It took me down a path I knew little about so I decided to do some research and tapped into a friend's vast knowledge of genealogy to help make the story more believable and authentic. She is a natural story teller and the next thing I knew my little nugget had morphed into her version of a story that had little resemblance to what I had first been inspired by - authentic and believable to boot. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I was totally fired up to write THAT story... until a few days into trying to do it when the spark died. The characters were blah, the story was blah and I was not feeling it... at all. And it showed in my dismal word count that didn't grow much that first week.
So I abandoned that fragment and decided to start writing something else. Remember my first short story? The one that sucked but was packed with tons of emotions? I thought it would be cool to flesh that story out so I started to. But I still didn't feel it after I wrote the initial opening scene. *sigh* Now what?
At that point I got a really great pep talk in email that somehow was written just for me. Bottom line, NaNoWriMo is not about writing a polished novel and if it is a ton of tangents that you feel like writing and have only a flimsy relation to one another but still add up to 50,000 words then you still did it. Okay, so just keep writing!
What I ended up doing is pulling out the really great idea I've been working on for two years and instead of revising - the idea of which overwhelmed me - I decided to start over... again. It began as a mere exercise in rationalization that, in my brain, went something like this:
I wonder if I could just rewrite the prologue... just to get me back on track... yeah, I think that's a great idea!
And several thousand words later I have a fabulous prologue where before there was only a shadow of it. The action starts in a completely different place, the characters are much more believable, and most importantly, I'm inspired again. I'm going to just keep going on the re-write instead of a revision of what I've already written. I know what happens in each scene so just re-do them with a different eye this time around. At this point I have to write something insane like 3000 words a day to finish on time but I'm willing to try!
So, although I did move my writing chair to a different spot for a change of scenery hoping to inspire, it is really just the inspiration of a great idea that I really needed. Wish me luck! If you need me, I'll be writing...