I just finished the second draft of a novel in October, so I decided to do something different for NaNoWriMo this year and write short stories. I'd been having a hard time this year finishing any short story that I began. I'm not sure if I felt pressured to 'get it right' on the first draft, or I caved in to the internal editor too much, but something was getting in the way, and I needed to get a few more written, seeing as how I've sold a few. It's a good problem to have.
In the week prior to NaNo I wrote out a few outlines for various stories. Some were detailed, others consist of only a line or two. I'm happy to say that I've complete four short stories so far. Four! And I'm working happily on the fifth. I've written a straight-up fantasy set in the world of my novel Shards of History, another fantasy that is set in the historical Middle East in a caravanserai, a horror story set in the contemporary US, and a steampunk/sf mash-up set on another planet. I've been having fun so far, and although the stories have run a little long, I've also been making notes to myself on where to cut and what to add on the next go-round, which seems to have silenced whatever was keeping me from finishing short stories earlier this year.
This month I gave myself permission to try new types of stories and to just go ahead and screw up and fix things later, and I've been having loads of fun. I'm writing about all types of characters, and settings I haven't tried before. I haven't done NaNo in years, and this has been a great way to get back into it. In fact, this might become my new tradition every year.