For the first time in several years, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month. Having done it three times in the past and won once, it wasn't something I thought I'd be doing again. The timing doesn't usually work out for me, for one thing. This year I decided to try my hand at something different, at just the right time to participate in NaNoWriMo.
Paranormal is all I've ever written. It'll always be my favorite genre, my home in fiction. Firewall, the last volume in the Magic Born trilogy, was one of the hardest books I've written so far. It took a lot out of me. I was already fighting burnout but after finishing Firewall, I was crispy-fried. I've worked on several things since then but finally decided that I needed to try something different. This article - Why You Need A Creative Shift Instead Of A Vacation, As Explained By Joss Whedon - had a lot to do with my decision. I didn't want to take an extended break from writing, but it was clear I needed to do something to overcome the feeling of burnout. So I'm making a creative shift and trying something radically different from what I usually write - a small town contemporary. No magic, no riots, no danger - of the physical kind, at least. Just two people trying to find their way toward each other. I'm absolutely terrified, and that fear has me strangely eager to write.
And yes, it does feel a bit like crossing over to the dark side, but I'm also really excited at the prospect of challenging myself. I don't want to be a one-genre pony. If I'm going to try something so different from what I normally write, why not do it during NaNo? All the hoopla might give me the motivation I need to get past my anxiety and just write. It makes it easier to think of this as a fun experiment than a do-or-die manuscript. If it works, then I've learned how to write in a different genre. If it doesn't, well, there's only thirty days in November.
Are you participating in NaNo this year? What genre are you writing in, and is it your usual genre?
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