Dualing Through a Blitz

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The topic came up at the Camp Nanowrimo of working more than one project to make one’s wordage (well, I’m counting this: as Perian reminded me, it’s camp,  not NNWM). While many people declare they could never skip around, several were delighted to find they weren’t alone in the world.

Back when I was working from home, as a writer, I used two Nanowrimo accounts just so I could track progress on two different novels in November. I would write several days on one, feel like I had emptied that well of ideas, and switch to my other account while the first one filled back up. They were usually moderately different books, so that was refreshing, too. It really helps when I sit down to blitz draft to alternate this way. The later in the month, the more often I switch, too. Yes, I would usually hit 50k on both.

Some people say they simply couldn’t remember and keep straight two stories. Well, writers are like magicians, in that any rule they think is true about their mental limitations, is true, for them. I gather these are the people who never watch more than one television show per season. Or read a novel or short story while waiting for next week’s episode. I am perfectly willing to accept that they can’t imagine or make up more than one story at a time, but not that they can’t just remember the stuff. I may be queen of pantsers, with a massive allergy to outlines, but even I make notes and gazetteers.

That’s the actual problem baffling a dual blitz: they just can’t switch creative gears that fast. If that works for them, great. But I always warn people about working methods to make sure they are working, for you. It doesn’t matter in the least that it works for someone else, or that you wish it would work for you, if it actually doesn’t.

Some people don’t work well with the blitzing technique, let alone its variations, but it’s worth trying a couple of times, especially if writing two pages a day is making a book take forever, so that you do lose track of what you’re doing over the months.

On the other claw, blitzing may seem not to work for you if this is the scenario — You write like crazy for several days, then burn out. You can’t think of a thing. You quit blitz writing every day. You lose habit and incentive. You go back after a while, plink at it desultorily, try to find the fire, finally do and — you’re out of month.

If you dual, you do that same initial burst, maybe take a day to switch by reading your research or plans, maybe just look at the screen and go, “Nah, I’m stuck,” and jump right over to Project B. At that point, you get a second initial burst! You don’t lose the habit, you’re still all fired up, and you see pages stacking up. When that seems to stick, you go back to Project A, and suddenly it’s all new and fresh and you can see what you can do with it. You keep up that fun energy and challenge which is what all the Nanoholics love about Nanowrimo and Camp(s) Nanowrimo.

So try being a dashing dualist — it may make the blitzing work for you!

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