This past weekend, I had author Jodi Redford visiting for a few days. I willingly put everything on hold for this visit because OMG! SHE’S A FREAKING HOOT AND I ADORE HER! But this got me thinking… you can prepare and plan and plot until the cows come home and yet sometimes things happen that get in the way of writing (or reading or summoning of ancient and better-left-alone deities — stop that, by the way, I just cleaned up after the last apocalypse and I need a little break). They can be highly anticipated things (like Jodi’s visit) or they can be things that hit out of the blue (your car gets infested with a rare colony of miniature albino spiders that were recently put on the endangered species list and you have to deal with several branches of the government as you attempt to wrangle your car back from the EPA. Or whatever branch of the gov takes care of miniature albino spiders).
The question that arises here is… what do you do when something like this happens during NaNo? The way I see it, you have two choices — you can either freak out and lament how things always conspire to keep you from writing your epic masterpiece and give up or you can suck it up, reevaluate your plan of attack, your goals, etc and keep on truckin’.
I’ve been one of the lamenters. I know how much it blows to have great momentum on a project (whether it’s writing or not) and have it suddenly derailed by an unexpected occurrence. I GET THAT. Did I ever tell you about the year my computer crashed halfway through November and I lost the first half of my NaNo story? Yeah, it wasn’t fun. I bitched about it. I might have cried a little. Not that I’m admitting to that part, mind you, because I’m not a crier. *shifty eyes* The point is that I could have thrown up my hands and given up. I didn’t. I finished that story and eventually retrieved the first half I thought was lost. AND I WAS SO THRILLED WITH MYSELF FOR PUSHING THROUGH.
In some ways, I think that was a turning point for me in regards to writing. I mean, it’s easy to write when things are going well. It’s when the craptastic happened and I kept going forward despite it that showed me I COULD DO THIS.
(And here’s where I’m going to insert my PSA and remind people to BACK UP YOUR WORK. Learn from my mistakes. Back up early and often!)
The point of all this is that even if life throws you a curve ball in November, don’t give up. Your plot just took a nosedive and you’ve written yourself into a corner? Move onto a new scene. Nobody says you have to write your book in order. If you hate your book and have no passion for it on day 2 of NaNo, CHANGE UP WHAT YOU’RE WRITING.
It’s your book. Now, go write it. (err… but wait until Nov 1st. Because, you know, that’s when it’s all official.)