I'm really cracking on with the NaNoWriMo thing, and more importantly - enjoying it.
It made me realise how recently, I've been 'trying too hard' with my novel.
A couple of years ago I sat down and wrote a Whole One - 300 pages - and loved every minute. Being completely naive, I didn't do any re-writing or editing. I couldn't wait to sent it Out There. Surprisingly (because looking back it was pretty bloody awful - cringeworthy in many ways) I received some very positive feedback. The the main criticism were, my main character wasn't 'rounded' enough and one of the plot points was 'a little tired'. Basically, it needed re-writing.
And that's what I've been doing ever since. The trouble is, I found myself tied up in knots, trying to write what I thought agents and publishers wanted to read, but it soon became apparent that this technique just wasn't working. I kept faltering. Starting again. Thinking about giving up. Changing the first chapter. Changing the title. Changing the theme. Changing the whole thing. Another year went by with not much to show for it.
Yet, reading through my very first effort last week, for the first time in months, it struck me how spontaneous it sounded. I had great fun writing it, and it showed. The dialogue was...well, quite sparkly in parts, and I laughed out loud a couple of times. Yes, lots of things needed tightening up, but basically it was miles better than anything I've produced since. What's that all about???
So now, I've gone back to basics. I'm resurrecting my original masterpiece. It needs a lot of re-shaping and it still might not work, but I'm actually having fun with the damn thing again.
I think I've found my Mojo.