Sometimes you need to write on something that will lead nowhere. It could be in a genre you haven’t written in, a topic or subject that gets you writing that can include a picture or word prompt. It gives you a break that could open the door to more opportunities as well.
NaNoWriMo has done that for me. I have won three times. One person told me if they did not lead to publication, what was the point? A valid point if that was my goal for NaNoWriMo.
Trying something new is less stressful if it leads to nothing and you are doing it just for the fun of it, to express yourself and enjoy.
NaNoWriMo has shown me that I can write in different genres. I can write a novel that is in 70-100k words and more. It has given me a new outlook on what I can do as a writer.
To me, that is worth the long hard month of getting NaNoWriMo completed. I know someone who structures it as Need To Write More November, which is a great goal if you are trying to complete an existing manuscript or getting in the habit of writing more.
If nothing else, writing with no intention of where it will go keeps me in a writing spirit that could lead to nothing or something.
When you are exercising, do you hydrate? When your car is overheating, do you add water to the radiator? If it is cold in the house, do you leave the windows open?
When people in your beta or critique group layout suggestions, do you pay attention? Do you ignore what you are hearing? Do you put up a strong front knowing full well the critique is off base?
One example that comes to mind happened a few years ago at my writing group. The group of like-minded people told me I needed to strip two chapters out of my book.
I was shocked. I knew inside that was not going to happen.
I know my characters, I know my book, and the reason those chapters were in that volume was to help educate children.
I didn’t vocally fight hard for my book at that meeting. The opinions, in a critique group, were off base. They were even close to what I was trying to accomplish, and it was clear they were not going to listen to me. I did raise some objections only to hear again those two chapters needed to go.
I have learned a lot from my writing groups. I have used many of their ideas before. But not everything you get from a group works.
You know your book better than anyone in this world. It is unable to talk for itself. It needs you to do that.
How many ideas do you have as an author? At this point, I have just way too many. There is no way I can write them all out before I am long gone. So, why do I keep adding thoughts and ideas to my bulging notebooks?
It’s what we do as writers. It might be the one that excites us in ways the other ideas have not.
Once I started writing, I had one idea. I was okay with that at the time since I was writing. I know a local writer who is working on her first book. When asked what other ideas were percolating, she stated this was her only idea. She was okay with that to write one book. Yes, the room went silent.
Another local author stated the same thing, but being around the group and other writers, she soon started to compile ideas and since have written another book.
It is contagious once you write an article, short story, novella to a full-length book. For us, once the writing bug has hit, it does not go away, if ever, regardless of how many ideas for books we will never get to write.