I get amped for NaNo every year

I love an intense creative experience. I love the crucible of a deadline and the mad dash to get work done. I recognize that it’s a setting that gives a lot of people anxiety, but I get excitement. And it’s nice to have that experience with no real stakes. I do Nano every year.

I have been struggling recently. I feel like I should be writing novels, because that’s what’s hot, that’s the category of writing that sells right now. This is an illusion, and even if it weren’t, it’s not a very good reason to put myself in a box. I have a day job, so my creative pursuits should be free to pursue what I will. Not every writer can or wants to be a novelist.

Personally, I feel like I’m not very good at any one thing. However, I know the basics of a variety of practices; knowing some graphic design, having some skill in drawing, and also loving writing both prose and poetry puts me in a position where my favorite thing to do is to make multimedia projects. A zine where I can write ten different things, make a design, make a drawing, and print it out in a booklet form? Count me in, and I won’t feel like I’m a fish out of water at any point in that process.

I’ve never “won” Nano (50k words, complete story in a month), and that’s five or six years in the running. However, whatever I end up doing, I get a ton done. I might get a shoddy rough draft done of a novel done. I experiment and plop something out, like the time I challenged myself to make a Twine game. It sorta/barely worked in a rickety stool sort of way, but I completed it! And I am proud of that.

This year I feel like I am at a point where writing a novel is actually not that interesting a prospect for me. I’m emotionally stretched thin, and though I’ve worked on the framework to write an outline for a cozy mystery, I’m not that excited about it. Even something lighthearted sounds exhausting.

One of my players said, “Dude you should just write an rpg adventure for Nano.” That got under my skin. Why don’t I do that? After all, I’m uniquely suited for that sort of thing… I can lay out pages and make illustrations, I have the ability to do it all. I even have all of my notes from the previous campaign.

So, I’ve decided to lean in and do it. I haven’t decided on whether or not I should write one-shots, or go the distance and try to get the whole campaign and setting down. Or if I should do a new one. But the idea is much more exciting than writing a novel. And I’m going to ride the flow. We’ll see what happens. It is an experiment in going my own way instead of chasing after what I feel like I “should” be doing. Maybe I’ll run into something.