I had high hopes for this year's NaNoWriMo. My first official win was the year I drafted book one of the Resonance Saga, and the previous two years I sailed smoothly to 50k on each of the sequels. I had convinced myself that what made a successful NaNoWriMo was the project. Those corpses of old projects that littered my NaNo history were evidence that I hadn't found my niche yet. I hadn't figured out what I wanted to write, and so I couldn't sustain the effort for 30 whole days.
And this year's project? Oh it was good. It was one of those projects that hits like a lightning strike. It came alive in my head all at once, although the details are still moving around, finding their perfect places. I had an outline, I had a clear theme. I had more than enough motivation.
This year was going to be easy.
One of the questions I get most frequently from people who have learned I'm publishing a trilogy in addition to working a full-time (and stereotypically all-consuming) day job is how do you find time to do both?
Similarly, when I'm talking with other author friends who have day jobs, we can often be found asking ourselves and each other how on earth are we supposed to do both these things?
I'm not going to pretend it's easy. I can't give you three weird tricks that will make drafting your next novel a breeze or the one thing that you should do to make your boss love you. But I can tell you about the habits, systems, routines, and resources that I have built up over the last decade that allow me to balance a full time career as an academic and sustain a writing practice.
I've had something stuck in my head the last few days.
Yes, it is that rousing TikTok rendition of The Wellerman. But alongside it, I've been ruminating on just why it is that the sudden revival of a relatively obscure class of music has filled me with joy that I was not expecting to feel in these dark days.