Friday, November 5, 2010

A Tale of Two Years

To celebrate National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I finally finished my first complete revision of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2008. It cost me close to 2-years to get my butt going and revise it. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is it’s a fun approach to writing. You sign up on the website and on November 1, you begin writing your story. The goal is to complete a 50,000-word novel by the end of November 30. During this time, you can post your progress on the site and encourage others while they encourage you.

I participated in 2008 and completed a 50,000-word novel, and the picture to this post is what I won. Most people think you walk away with prize money, but all you really walk away with is the knowledge of knowing you wrote a novel in one month. To some—like me—it’s a satisfying feeling.

So now what? You could ask someone to read it to see what they think, which is what I did. My Love, who at the time was just a friend, asked if he could read it. I shrugged and said ‘sure’. I had no plans to do anything with it until he read it within a few days and said he loved it. I thought, “Come on, it’s a mess”, but he thought it was great. He’s always been my biggest fan. Before I sent it to him, I prepared him for the mess, because wanting to complete 50,000 words in one month when you work full-time means turning off your internal editor. There is no time to clean-up or fix mistakes. NaNoWriMo helped me learn to write under pressure without going back and editing the crap out of everything I wrote. I was on a clear, direct path to finish and nothing was going to get in my way…and it didn’t. Coming into the last week of November, I still had to write 25,000 words to win and I freaked. How am I going to do that? Vacation days. I used vacation days to finish my 2008 NaNoWriMo.

Fast forward two years and here I am, working with an editor to clean it up. It isn’t a free revision—it costs to have someone do a line-by-line, but my Love convinced me it was worth it. After this revision, I will need to find a few proofreaders to go through it again…and then to go through it again until it’s error free…or at least close to it. Aside from this novel, I wrote my first one back in 2003, which is nicely tucked away in my drawer due to my poor writing.

I toast to those who are participating in the 2010 NaNoWriMo, and wish you all the best. It’s a great adventure, so write hard and TURN OFF YOUR INTERNAL EDITOR . Good luck!


  1. Turn off our internal editor. That applies in many cases--as if you're saying, turn off that compulsive mind, and let's flow!

    Maybe I should finish my own novel--after this one.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. You're right. Sometimes we need to turn off our compulsive minds and enjoy life.

    WOOHOO! Rizal is writing another novel?! I had no idea.

  3. Your NaNo success story is positively inspiring to me! Thanks for reinforcing & shouting the advice of 'turn off the inner editor.' So, so true!

    As you know, I'm a participant this year, but I have the benefit of being a SAHM, so it's just been a matter of switching priorities around to carve out the time. I've been amazed at what can happen creatively when I focus on quantity over quality.

    *Giggles* So cute that you took vacation time to finish in '08! Now THAT is the mark of a serious writer! I love it!! May your efforts be rewarded further with a published novel! I have high hopes for you, Bea!

    Do you think you'll ever enter NaNo again?

  4. LOL! Well, I’m not sure my NaNo experience is considered a success story. Turning off the internal editor is very important with NaNo. You can waste sooo much time fixing when you should write the story. There’s more than enough time later on to fix it up and add meat.

    I know you’re participating, and so is your son. I’m cheering you both on. As much as you think SAHM is a benefit, I’d probably argue it has plenty more responsibility and juggling time management than a full-time job. But yes, if you can figure out—this is mommy’s time and you get the support—then you’re creative juices will flow.

    Geez, I can’t believe I had to quit my job and fly over the pond to FINALLY revise my 2008 novel. Some might say it’s the mark of carelessness than a serious writer. Aw, thanks Barb, I have high hopes for you. You’re a great writer, and I’ve told you that long ago. You can capture an audience because you write—always write—from your heart.

    Yes, I think once I get this one in order, and query or self-publish then I’ll attempt NaNo again. Good luck!