NaNoWriMo, that month of insanity where millions of authors all over the world attempt to create 50K of a novel. (If you're one of them, feel free to buddy up, though I will be mostly working and not so much socialising. I've got goals.)
This is my 15+ year of doing this.
Before I started this year, I vowed to myself I would play with voice. I'm not happy with my voice and want to enrich it. Put some thought into what kind of imagery I wanted, read a few really good flash fiction with voice and did the whole imagine pre-writing idealism to get in mind what I wanted.
Attended an official NaNo Write In on Wednesday night. Sat down and, with the goal of voiciness in mind, cranked out 3K words. Cranking out wordage is a doddle for me. But when I got home and re-read my stuff, I saw my usual dull voice had drifted back in, despite my best efforts. Drat. I'd rushed things.
Spent Thursday morning on a NoNo for NaNo: editing.
The thing with NaNoWriMo is that once you push into pure wordage, habit takes over. For those who don't have a writing habit, it's pushes your boundaries. But for me, with more than a million words under my belt as an author, sheer speed doesn't challenge me. Currently voice is a challenge for me, and to play with that, one must slow down.
So I went back and edited. I examined each sentence to see what it did right, and what it did wrong. I analysed my word choices and structure. I recast several until they sang instead of sat there.
However, when I was done, I was much happier with my words. Subsequent wordage for the month will go forward not so much with a focus on quantity but quality. If it means I must slow down, then I shall slow down.
Oh, I'll be able to get my 50K in, no problem. Not my first rodeo.
First Lesson Learned: Focus on your true goal. You don't get a Grade 8 piano player stumbling over a B Major grand scale. It flows under their fingers. But only if you make the thumbs fall where they need to.
To aid in this, my reading for the month is "Daniel Deronda" by George Eliot. Talk about voice!
November is a busy month for me, with the end of the semester (applying for Hubble time!), ladyships' end-of-year concerts and Thanksgiving as well as NaNoWriMo. While I've been doing my best to read more indie authors, I'm finding they don't quite have the voice I'm looking for. I'll be putting them aside for the month for tried-and-true Classic literature.
Second Lesson Learned: the Classics are classic for a reason. Yes, many a high school student finds them boring and dull and difficult to read, but if you move your focus from the tedious plot and the depressing characters and look at the pure beauty of how words are being used, that is where the classic-ness is to be found.
Her Grace is also pushing herself by hoping to reach 80K instead of the recommended 50K.