The Calm Before the Storm

September is here. That moment of sheer terror that fills my mind with to-do lists, a cluttered calendar, and constant contact.

I’ve discovered the last week or two that I’ve been disconnecting myself with my online life. Anyone who knows me knows that I am generally a very connected person. I’ve been known to spend upwards of 10-12 hours each day working at the computer, chatting, writing, working, and more.

I’ve been in a strange, almost withdrawn mode, staying away from chat, avoiding social media (well, more than usual. My G+ feed is depressingly empty, for me.)

This feels very much like the calm before the storm. It occurred to me while wracking my brain for a topic to write this blog about that this is me preparing for what is to come.

When October hits in earnest, I must immerse myself in the NaNoWriMo forums, answering questions, guiding thread creators to the proper forums, troubleshooting, wrangling beta testers, as well as near-constant staff meetings at OLL. I go to local write-ins, run sprints on NaNo Word Sprints, have lots of coffee, and in general, am more social and involved than I am with anything at any other time in life.

This year presents even more challenges, but I realized that I am actually retreating from this hyperconnectivity before it begins.

I’ve been thinking of the novel I want to write; for the first time in a long time, I know what I’m writing before NaNoWriMo. At a time when many people are getting more connected to the event, I’m trying to disconnect more.

It’s a survival technique, I think. For more than a decade now, this has been my fall. Fall is synonymous with falling leaves, cooling temperatures, and NaNoWriMo.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, either. For me, writing has become intensely social; something that was once painfully solitary has become the precise opposite. In a way, that need to be a part of something has almost crippled my ability to write anything else.

But I’m finding balance. Any writer has to find balance; for that matter, it’s not a problem exclusive to writers at all. I often devote myself with a frightening focus to a particular task or interest for months at a time, only to drop them and find something else later. It’s a pattern that is starting to bother me more and more, as I reorganize my mind and my life. I want to devote the right amount of time to everything… not just one thing to the exclusion of all else!

So, as NaNoWriMo comes, what are you doing to prepare, if anything? I’m planning my deep breath before the other shoe drops. What about you?

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5 thoughts on “The Calm Before the Storm

  1. I’ve never accepted this particular challenge, but I’m familiar with it.

    I find myself fully immersed in a project for months on end, the pressure to continue eventually finds me unravelling so I withdraw. It’s my survival skill.
    Balance can be difficult when we find ourselves overcommitted or being pulled by forces we have no control over.
    I admire you for writing about your struggle. There is comfort when one knows others face and defy similar odds.
    Rest while you can, spoil yourself with a special treat and when things get too fast and furious grab a bag of marshmallows and toss them against the wall as hard as you can! It’s very therapeutic.
    Thanks for sharing. Enjoy a great day!

  2. I’m definitely preparing to not fail at NaNo this time. I’ve so far found a planning technique that may work for me, been immersing myself in more writing communities, and just other ways to stay connected to stay inspired…. I’ve found if I’m not in it, I’m not feelin’ the groove of “Hey, go write!”

  3. One word. Plotting. I am plotting. I got caught with Camp NaNoWriMo without a plot. I found out about it a week before it started. I wrote 70,000 [and some odd] words, won, and had to rip the thing in half after the event ended because it was two books and two plots instead of one that would mesh. So now I have one book on a back burner with a lot written. I have one I am slowly rewriting to fix the plot. I will not be caught with my pants down on the November one.

    I am against working harder after the event is over. Will have plot.

  4. I never have a solid idea before November 1. But I *usually* have a handful of “well, you could try this” types of ideas in my head by now. Usually I don’t go with any of the ideas I have in September, as I usually just go onto the computer on November 1 and start filling the blank page with whatever gibberish comes to mind.

    But my lack of even these “well, you could…” ideas is really bugging me. Too many distractions and too much stress, I suspect.

  5. Oh my goodness, Heather, you are going to have to be at least two people in November. You seem to be at low tide at the moment, preparing for the surge, but you know exactly what you need to do in the next months. Best wishes.

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