I am a fan of NaNoWriMo. How could I not be? It led me to my first writer’s group. It taught me how to carve writing time out of a busy day. And it taught me that I – undisciplined and scattered as I was – could actually complete an entire novel.
A bad novel, sure. A short novel. A messy, fifty-thousand-word draft full of plot holes and mistakes and shitty writing.
But bad writing can be revised, edited, and rewritten into something readable.
My first ever NaNoWriMo novel was a turd that refused to be polished. But I learned from my mistakes. The following attempts were better. One of those early drafts was good enough to send out to agents and garner a couple of full requests. It was missing something, though. I didn’t know what, back then, but I do now and revising it is on my list of projects.
Another of my NaNoWriMo drafts eventually turned into Between, my first published novel. Yes, it took several years and multiple complete rewrites, but hey. It happened.
After my first NaNoWriMo I also realized there was no excuse for not writing, and I developed a regular writing routine. These days, the thought of 50k words in a month no longer scares me. Even with the day job, I can, and usually do, maintain a similar writing schedule on a regular basis.
Except when I have publishing deadlines for edits. (See Seleste deLaney’s post from yesterday on dealing with publishing deadlines and NaNoWriMo). For the last couple of years I have kept my head down during NaNoWriMo because I had other deadlines and not enough time to do both.
But this year – ah, this year – NaNoWriMo is the golden opportunity.
I’ve just completed back to back proofs for two books coming out in the spring. And I have a book I need to write. This is the second book in what I’m unofficially calling the Shadow Valley Manor Mystery series, the sequel to Dead Before Dying (which will be out in February!) Second books are hard for me. I keep over-thinking things and editing myself while I draft. Editing while drafting is the hammer of doom.
NaNoWriMo has a way of cutting straight through the angst and overthinking. There is something wild and primal about writing alongside thousands of other writers that takes me straight into the guts of the story. So this year, I’m in.
I’m primed. I’m ready. I’m excited.
Let’s do this thing!
(Buddy me, if you wish, and we can cheer each other on. You’ll find me as uppington)