Traditionally, I've attempted some form of writing challenge in November, ever since my first attempt at NaNoWriMo when I was in 6th Year in school. Since then, I think I've only really managed to complete it a couple of times, and I usually feel crap about not doing it. (Silly, I know, but that's how it is.)
This year, I'm not signing up. November, while having less working hours in story for me, is still going to be busy. I've been hired to direct a play at my old college, I may end up with random working hours in the middle of the week, and I have my graduation to attend. To keep myself from going entirely mad with deadlines and the likes, I'm setting myself other writing targets. Instead of word counts, I'm aiming to complete certain projects.
First up, I need to complete The Blood of Leap. Ideally I can work on it a lot over the coming days, to finish up early next week. When I have a cover designed for the book, I can then decide on a release date to finally release the third book in the Modern Irish Myth series.
When the book is written, I'll be moving on to another series entirely. I'm hoping - and this might be more difficult than I'm currently letting myself believe - to release twelve books next year. That's one a month in 2014, all in one series. I need to get the first book written in November, and have some work done on the second, so that I can make an announcement officially in late November/early December.
The intention is to fill the year with writing in a way I haven't done before. Part of me wants to attempt a year-long blog tour, but that's just insanity with everything else I'll have to do. However, I will be putting it out there to write guest posts on blogs (and take part in interviews), as well as interviewing other writers about what they're up to. I think it'll be fun, and it'll help keep me busy.
If things go to plan, 2014 will be a big year for me. Getting settled after finishing my exams took a lot of time. It might sound silly, but it's not easy replacing a schedule when it's all you've had for your life. While things were certainly more hectic of late with a few extra hours per week in shop, November is seeing a significant dip in the amount of time I'll be working. I'm looking forward to filling up the "days off" with writing. The value of that time is becoming more and more evident, and it's something I didn't get an opportunity to figure out during the summer months, when I wasn't receiving many more hours at all.
Things are changing in my life, and I'd like to think it's for the better. I'd like to say that I'm getting a grip on the vacuum of days without timetables.
Tomorrow morning is the first morning I'll have a chance to do something in November that might actually go somewhere. I'll be tackling the last chapter I was working on in The Blood of Leap. Saturday will then see me going for the next chapter, with a morning and an evening to myself. Sunday's the same, though with an hour less in the morning to do something. Monday is almost a write-off, unless I can squeeze an hour in before bed. Tuesday sees me with potential plans in the afternoon, but the entire day to myself otherwise. That'll be fun.
That's the gist of how my days will be playing out. I have two days in the bookshop most weeks, a couple of days babysitting (that's a thing I've been doing for a while), a couple of evenings directing, and a cinema visit every week. Otherwise, days off and time to myself, and I intend on making the most out of it all. With little control on when I have days off, they're becoming a valuable commodity. This morning, for instance, has been spent (a) catching up on sleep and (b) reading, because I don't get much time for either a lot of the time.
I'm guilty of announcing great intentions for change in my life and then not following through, but this time, I don't think I could be more enthusiastic about what I have in store for 2014. I'm reading books on marketing and PR, I'm planning a whole-website re-jigger, all with one series in mind.
It begins with November, and it continues until there's nothing left to write. That could take a while. While I plan on publishing 12 books next year in this series (as well as more books in the Modern Irish Myth series), the series won't necessarily be finished with by December next year. At the very least, the characters won't be finished with by then. One of them actually has a whole other series of books to his name in my head (books that need planning properly before I announce anything about them to anyone in any real detail), while the initial 12 have stories to follow them that I haven't fully planning, but haven't entirely abandoned. There's so much to happen in the coming months, and I want it all to start properly tomorrow morning.
The last time something felt as right as this series was when I was writing the press release for the week of writing and publishing that would lead to Balor Reborn. It felt real, and it felt like it was supposed to happen. This new series isn't like Balor Reborn, though. It's not fantasy based. The books are grounded in reality, the ups and downs, falling in love and falling out of it, and the painful experiences of life that people sometimes refuse to talk about. The books are about life, set in Ireland, with all the comedy and tragedy that life entails.
So, while I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year, November is still going to be significant. November is going to be the big month for me, the one that tells me whether or not I'll be able to follow through on my mad ambitions to publish these books. November is the month that needs to matter enough to dedicate time to writing, because it's the first month since days off became valuable, and the last month this year I'll have enough of them to make a difference.
What about you? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo?