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!