Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

I Suck, You Suck, We All Suck for Quite a While!

(Wow. That really didn’t rhyme at all. Sorry.)

I seem to spend a lot of time explaining things to my older son that are actually lessons that I need to learn for myself, or that I’ve learned only recently. This means that either I never learned them as a child, or I did, and it took another twenty years for the lessons to stick. I’d like to blame the former, but let’s be honest: I can be a bit dense. I have no one to blame but myself.

Yesterday’s (attempted) lesson involved something we’ve talked about here before: This tendency that I and many others have to expect our first efforts to be spectacular. Oh, sure, we understand that other people need to practice a lot before they’re good at something, but there’s something in each of us (human nature, or perhaps a heavy focus on self-esteem building in our youth) that makes us think that we are special. We might think we’ll be able to learn to play guitar remarkably quickly, and do it exceptionally well, or that (in my son’s case) we’ll be able to draw things well just because we want to. Sure, Stephen King was writing short stories and novels for most of his life before he sold a novel, but we think that the first thing we write will be brilliant and sell a million copies and make us rich and famous and…

Sure, we say modestly, it will need a bit of editing, but the world will love it when it’s ready. We read (repeatedly, if we’re doing our research) that most books by new authors, no matter how they’re published, sell a disappointing number of copies. They don’t make a splash, don’t earn out their advance, don’t break even on what the author spent on editors and cover designers… but we still think we, individually, going to be the next J.K. Rowling/Stephanie Meyer/Insert Big-Time Debut Author Here.

And kids, it just ain’t so. It’s a fun dream, but as goals go, it… well, it sucks harder than the first draft of a first story.

This is a hard lesson to learn for some of us, but not learning it comes with serious consequences:

  • We don’t do the work. It’s like an actor sitting around waiting to be “discovered” rather than putting the necessary hours into learning and failure and experience. It’s happened before, but it’s a terrible game plan.
  • We’re unwilling to try new things, because we know we won’t be “naturals.”
  • If we do try, we give up as soon as things get tough, or as soon as we realize that this work isn’t as perfect as we expected it to be…
  • …or as soon as someone criticizes our liberal use of triple exclamation points in our Historical Romance, or the fact that the cat’s leg in our painting looks like a furry penis.
  • In fact, it makes it damned hard to take any criticism at all.

And we need that to grow. We need to be able to fall down and scrape our knees and know that this has nothing to do with us being special snowflakes or not; it just means that there’s more to learn, and there’s no shame in that.

This can be exciting! I’ve discovered that there’s freedom in saying “Yes, I need help,” and finding that there are people willing to offer it. There’s freedom in understanding that this is freaking hard on so many levels, but there’s no shame in trying to improve, and there’s freedom in knowing that you don’t have to be the best of the best to contribute something to the world, whether it’s stories or sculptures or sermons or songs (or photos or recipes or lemonade, or other less-alliterative things).

It’s actually funny that my son and I were talking about this yesterday (Me: “They say it takes 10,000 hours to master anything*.” Him: “Wow. That’s more than two days.”). I wasn’t going to do a blog post about it, but this morning I opened a Weekly Inspiration e-mail from Life Manifestos, entitled “Yes, You Suck– Now Get Over It.” I recommend clicking on over there to take a look. It’s exactly what Simon and I (and now you and I) had been talking about: learning that we’re not the prodigies, naturals, or Mary-Sues** we dream we are, but going out there and doing it anyway.

This is why NaNoWriMo was and is so important to me. It’s not about being the best on your first shot. It’s about getting out there and doing the work that needs to be done before you can be great. It’s about not waiting for perfect inspiration or perfect skill to materialize out of thin air or to develop on its own, with no work or input from us. It’s about enjoying the journey, gaining a support group of people who are learning these same lessons, and having a ton of fun even as we work through the frustrations of revising, editing, maybe even publication… and then doing it all over again, knowing that it only gets better.

I hope my son will learn this lesson more quickly than his mom did. I don’t want him wrestling with perfectionism and insta-discouragement*** and thinking that everything he does should be amazing right away. I hope he’ll be open to improvement instead of being hurt by criticism like I was for so long. I hope he’ll learn to be willing to work and to put in something beyond the bare minimum (as this is a huge issue for him right now).

As for me… I’ve got to get back to work.

*No, I haven’t read Outliers yet, but it’s on the list.

**Come on, in our dreams we’re all that girl/guy who’s good at everything, the genius who everybody wants…

***Just add water!

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Writing and Reading and ROWing, Oh My!

Hey, look at me, being ready to get in on something at the beginning!

Since I already have two posts scheduled for tomorrow (the actual start date for this round of “A Round of Words in 80 Days”), I’m going to post this today. It’s Sunday, right? Regular update day.

GOALS

Writing:

Bound: finish editing this draft and have it out to readers by August 1. This should leave time for the fine-toothed comb treatment if I use my time wisely, but will depend on what I can get done before we go on holidays at the end of the month.

Torn: finish a full draft by the end of this round. This is a challenge for me, as this is another thing that was lost when I my own computer broke, so I’ve been starting from scratch. Big changes were coming, anyway, but it would have been nice to have my road-map…

Super Secret Project: Remember when I had those vampires bouncing around in my head, and I used them to take a break from my fantasy world? I have the beginnings of another world rattling around in my brain, and it all started to come together when I was walking the dog yesterday. No promises or goals, except to say that if I need a break, I’ll be working on this, and possibly offering an opening scene some time for WIPpet Wednesday. It’s not a genre I’ve had anything to do with in the past, so this could be interesting…

Disregard the Prologue: Yes, blog goals! I’m going a 31 day challenge in July, to keep me going through vacation and to allow me to schedule posts (because everything else is just going to be going SO WELL that I won’t need the distraction of this blog. HA!). So for July, I’ll make it a goal to post every day. After that… Well, I’ll readjust, and stop bombarding y’all with myself.

Other Stuff:

Art: I need to do a couple of custom My Little Ponies by the end of the summer, so I’m throwing that goal in here, because they’ll never get done otherwise. Two by the end of August, for sure, and if I can find time, there’s a personal project I’ve been itching to get to. This is what happens when you have a friend who sells doll hair, and you can’t stop yourself from buying all the pretty colours.

Family: Throwing a few more personal goals in here. Meal planning every week, one big, fun outing with the kids every week of vacation, reading one book (or chapter of a book) with each of the kids every day. Yes, we’re sometimes bad about that, especially when they forget to remind be until it’s quarter-past bedtime.

Reading: A book a week. Shouldn’t be too hard, but sometimes I get off-track when nothing’s grabbing me. I’ve got a ton of books waiting, though, so it should be fine. I have one book I’m alpha reading for someone this summer (I didn’t even know that term until she asked me… I’ve only used beta readers. You learn something new every day, don’t you?), I have my new paperbacks, I have a few books to finish on my kobo, and a bunch stranded in the Kindle app on my computer… plus the library. This should be doable, especially if I sit outside and read when the kids are playing.

So that’s the big, overarching goals. As far as time spent/word count, those goals will have to be broken down as I go along. My word count goal for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo session is only 25,000 words, and I’m cheating (editing/partial rewrites), so my goal should be 1,000 words a day… unless you account for vacation… so still 2,000 words a day. ¬†After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll go easy on myself in August, or maybe I’ll have to write my poor little heart out to distract me from the torment of hearing back from beta readers (who I love. Have I mentioned that I love you all?).

Wish me luck… and let me know if you’re participating so I can be sure to stop by and offer encouragement as the round goes on! I don’t always get updates on the blogs I’ve signed up to follow…


Letter From Camp

Hidey-ho, readeroonies!

Hang on…

Sorry, got in summer camp mode there for a minute. Apparently a far-too-enthusiastic clown camp of some sort. Sorry about that.

Things are great here at Camp NaNo… at least, the part in my head. In there it’s all pleasantly cool breezes off the lake and clear sunsets just before campfire and s’more time, with writing and horseback riding in between activities.

Outside of my head, not so much.

Both of the kids have been sick for a week with a nasty head cold and occasional fever. We’re constantly battling over nose wipings and medicine takings, and nights have been rotten. Also, and I don’t want to perpetuate a stereotype here, but they both have what is generally known as “the man cold.” I’m needed at all times, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing.

I’m still hovering around 2,000 words. Not great.

But the week hasn’t been all bad, not by a long shot. I’m grateful that I’ve (thus far) escaped with only a slight stuffy nose and a few headaches. I had one day where we got out of the house and to the dollar store and Walmart, and it shall go down in history as “the day I got those super pretty notebooks.” That was the same day my paperback copy of the Deptford Trilogy came in the mail, and my sponsor goodies for camp. SWEET!

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Even better, the wonderful Jae at Lit and Scribbles featured me/this blog on Wednesday. Isn’t that nice? I’m very excited to see who else she’s got lined up to talk to this month– you should go check it out, too! New friends are always fun.

I guess that’s about all I have to report for the week. Almost done “final” (oh, it is to laugh!) revisions to chapter 6 and 7 of Bound, and I may have found the perfect critique partner if she decides to stick with me. The other new project still insists on bouncing around in my head, but that’s OK- I’ve got these new notebooks handy so I can brain-vomit the ideas out fairly quickly.

So far next week’s looking pretty quiet around here, but I have a few posts scheduled (one featuring many immoral things you don’t want to hear about). Don’t go too far, though; if anything interesting happens, or if I really need to procrastinate, I’ll be around.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Anybody got big plans?


Know What’s Coming Next Week?

Camp NaNoWriMo, that’s what!

Some of my longer-time (is that a thing?) readers might be familiar with my NaNoWriMo love. I hardly posted here at all in November, because I was spending so much of my time banging out words on Torn. Well, the big event doesn’t roll around again until next November, but they’re running camp sessions in April and July.

Yay!

Camp’s a lot more laid-back; this year they’re letting you set your own word-count goals, and are encouraging people to write whatever they want: a book of poetry, a screenplay, a bunch of short stories, a guide to the care and feeding of cephalopods, whatever floats your canoe. Write 10,000 words or write 99,000 words, just do it and have fun.

I’ve already got my cabin assignment; I’m with a good group of people, most of them from Hamburg, Germany. I’ve packed my toothbrush and some cozy blankets for those nights when the wind blows cold off of lake NaNo, lots of tea and cookies. I’ll still have my regular responsibilities around here, still have the kids to love and squish and the husband to hang out with and the dog to walk, but other than that, I’m gonna be writing!

I’ll be here, too, just maybe not as much. It works out, though, because I’ve been posting too much lately. I’ll keep posting WIPpet Wednesday snippets when I can (in fact, I’ve already set a few up– this is me tempting fate again), and I’ll send y’all postcards via this blog.

Try not to miss me too much if I get lost in the woods, OK? ūüėČ

Oh, and there’s still time to register (for free!) if you want to join in the fun. If you do and want to keep in touch via camper messages, my user name over there is KittySparkes.


Writing and Parenting

I’ve been perusing entries on Write With Warnimont and came across a recent one that made me think- a post about limiting distractions while writing. Distraction is a huge problem for me, and he’s got some helpful tips. The last point he mentions is writing with kids around; I had a nice, long (practically novel-length) response typed up about writing with kids in the house, and I lost it.

I do that a lot, genius that I am.

So you can thank Mr Warnimont for inspiring this one…

*

Let me tell you what’s happening in my house, right at this moment. The TV is on, but there’s no one watching it. Why? Because I just sent the boys downstairs. Their dad is trying to sleep, I have a pounding headache, and they’re boys- they’re loud. I can still hear them, though. What I hear right now is the older one sing-shouting “RA-RA-RAS-POO-TEEN, AH BLAR BLAH BLAH RUSSIAN QUEEN” (or something, I don’t know the words), mixed with a lot of “OW, QUIT IT!” and screaming.

So typical snow day with a 7-year old and a 4-year old.

I love my children, I do. But I love writing, too, and the kids aren’t just distractions from it. They’re concrete roadblocks. Hang on a sec, somebody’s crying.

See what I mean?

And yet I write, don’t I? True, it took me two years to write, revise, and polish one novel (which had already been festering in my brain long before that), but I’m getting better with it. Also, I’m posting here fairly regularly, even if the dog practically does half of the work. So while I’m not a professional writer by any stretch of the imagination, I think I’m in a position to share a bit of advice on how I’m doing it.

1) My best piece of advice: Don’t have kids. Too late for that? Let’s move on…

2) Make writing a priority. I know, I know, easier said than done. It’s hard not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself when there are so many people wanting your time and attention. You might feel like you’re neglecting your family, but you need to take time to recharge yourself if you want to be at your best for them. Writing is my refuge. It’s how I get away from stress and problems, and it’s cheaper than a day at the spa (or taking up drinking as a hobby, for that matter). If you need a kick in the pants to do this, read on…

3) NaNoWriMo. I know, there are a lot of people who think it’s a bad idea, but I’m not talking about the quality of your first draft, here. I’m talking about giving yourself permission to make writing a priority. NaNoWriMo is official. It’s a big, but achievable goal, and it’s just for one month. The first time I did it (in 2010), I told my husband what I was doing, and he basically patted me on the head and said, “Whatever floats your boat, honey.” Kind of his general attitude toward my writing, actually… point is, I could ask him to watch the kids a bit more without feeling guilty, and more importantly I had a good excuse for writing instead of watching TV with him after the kids were in bed. After all, I had a word count to achieve! A deadline! And “it’s only for two more weeks” sounded a lot more reasonable to him than “I just have to get my imaginary people out of this dragon cave and into each other’s arms and rip them apart and nearly kill her and…” Get it? Without NaNoWriMo, I might never have given myself permission to just write, and to ask my family for that precious alone time. And it becomes a habit, which is also important.

4) Focus on the other stuff- I’m still bad for this, but I’m working on it. On days when I try to squeeze writing in during the day, I’m jumping back and forth between that, keeping the house clean, making meals, and playing with the kids (and letting the dog out, and letting the dog in, and letting the cat in who got out when the dog came in…). Then the kids go to bed, it’s writing time, and I still have dishes to do, laundry to move over, and tidying to do, because I was too unfocused during the day. If I can focus on the other stuff during the day/early evening and get it done without trying to fit my writing in wherever I can, if I can get it DONE, then my evening is just for me, a cup of tea, and my book… assuming my husband’s working nights, of course. Speaking of which…

5) Don’t neglect your relationships. This goes back to distractions again, and can be really difficult when things are going well in your writing. When you’re with your family, BE with your family. Don’t think about how you could be writing at that moment. Play with the kids, or read to them (I prefer reading, but sometimes it has to be trucks). Watch FRIENDS with your spouse and play Phase 10, or whatever it is you crazy kids do when you hang out. Get everyone out of the house together for a while, go for a hike, go to the playground. It’s time away from your work, but your family will be much more gracious about “sharing” you with your writing when they’ve already had their quality time with you. You’re important to them!

6) Get out of the house. When I’m at home, there’s always something else I should be doing, something to distract me. We live in a tiny community- no coffee shop to pop out to, not even a decent library branch to spend an hour or two at, but those would be good options if you have them nearby (you lucky thing, you). My current favourite trick is offering to take the car in every time it needs repairs. I can sit at the Hyundai dealership for a few hours and type, or if they have a car for me to borrow, it’s off to the library. The 45 minute drives there and back are great times to think, too, since there’s no one else in the car to distract me (um… just make sure you’re still watching the road, OK?)

7) Get help. Easier said than done for some of us; our closest family (geographically speaking) is my husband’s parents, and they’re an hour+ drive away. If you have family members close by, though, or teenagers who are willing to babysit for a reasonable fee, I say take advantage of it whenever you can. I am fortunate to have a husband who will keep the boys out of my hair for a while when they’re really driving me nuts, even though he doesn’t share my interests or really understand why I need to do this. He’s a keeper, that one.

8) Even heard of benign neglect? It’s not actually neglecting the kids; rather, it’s letting them do their own thing, to find their own fun, to work things out on their own without a parent hovering over them every minute of the day. Obviously babies need the attention, and can’t be left to fend for themselves, but it’s good for older kids. Be available if they really need you, but let them know that when you’re writing, they need to respect your space. Teach them to get their own snacks, and to help each other out with things. Teach them to resolve their arguments without hitting (and be prepared to step in when they do, anyway). Send them outside to play, weather permitting. This is all good for them! They need to learn to be creative in dealing with boredom and solving problems. It’s not ideal; I sit at the kitchen table or at my desk in the living room to write, and even when the boys aren’t hanging off of me and talking to me, they’re still around, still loud, and I still need to be aware of what’s happening. It’s better, though, and it brings me to my last point:

8) Writing through the distractions. This is what I’m doing right now, and do for most blog posts (since that sacred quiet time when I have the house to myself is strictly for fiction). You need to train yourself to do it, but it is possible. Yes, it’s annoying when you do have to get pulled out of your zone (which is why this doesn’t work as well for me when my mind has to be in another world), but at least you can get something done. I might be a bit snippier with the kids when I’m doing this than I normally would be, but we’re figuring it out.

So there you go. My little list of ways to get this thing done. Will these tips make it easy? Nope, sorry. If you’re like me, you will feel guilty every time you take time away from your kids. But it’s so worth it.

(Speaking of kids… I need to wish my Ike a super-duper 5th birthday today! Best Valentine’s Day gift ever.)


TGIO

It’s over, it’s over, it’s over!!!

No, not NaNoWriMo- that IS over, but I’m not celebrating it. I’m celebrating my win (over 70,000 words), but I’ll miss it a lot. The writing buddies, the forums, the pressure to just get through those tough spots and keep going, the permission to put off washing the floors in favour of writing… I’m sad to see all of that go.

No, what I’m celebrating is the end of Movember. I know it’s a good cause, I just really dislike mustaches in general. Tom Selleck is allowed to have one. The guys in the movie Tombstone can keep theirs and I’ll still watch it. My father-in-law can also keep his, because it suits him and I’m not entirely convinced that he actually has a lip under there. But not his son. My husband has fine, blond hair. He was not pleased with the results of his lip-hair experiment, and I don’t like prickly face. Not fun for either of us.

I donated money. I tried to be supportive. I’ve even said that next year we can match the donations he got this year if he’ll give the money to someone else. I think he was a little insulted by that… But I still don’t like Movember.*

He’s been itching to shave for the past week. I’m proud of him for sticking it out, but HOORAY, it’s over!!!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have floors to wash. Right after I figure out how to get two mer folk, a sorcerer and a semi-unconscious sorceress out of a well-guarded enemy fortress, while stopping to rescue a deposed king on the way.

What? Fun habits die hard. The floors can wait a little longer…

*huh. Autocorrect knows the word “Movember.” Not NaNoWriMo, though. I wonder what I can grow for insane writing challenge awareness?


Future Me is Gonna Be PISSED

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Win!

50,000 words.

20 days.

Not even half of the story, as far as I can tell. But that’s OK; revisions will bring it down to a manageable number, once I work through the insanity that’s come so far.

There have been circular arguments, questionable descriptions, awkward backstory and info-dumps, and the main character I just added still had little to no idea how this is supposed to work, but that’s OK. That’s what revisions are for. Without NaNoWriMo, I’d have nothing written, nothing to edit and polish. I’m way ahead of where I’d be otherwise.

I’m trying for 60,000 by the end of the month, and averaging at least 1000 words a day in December if I can- but I’m also going to be taking one more pass at my finished novel to try to make it really great.

And then MAYBE it’ll be ready to go somewhere.


Bad, Bad Romance

There was a forum thread at NaNoWriMo.org asking how to write non-cheesy romance scenes. I’m going to go with, “do the opposite of this”:

“My heart exploded into butterflies and puppies, and even though the love-puppies weren’t house-trained, it was OK, because they urinated sunshine and sugary syrup, like the kind you give to hummingbirds, all over the carpet of my heart.”

Maybe I should work on my own novel instead of coming up with theoretical, horrible metaphors for non-existent romance novels, but this is so fun.

Over 22,000 words as of today, hoping to get over 25,000 tonight or early tomorrow.


Here’s Why I NaNo

November approacheth.

There was a time when all November meant for me was thinking about Christmas shopping and being jealous of American Thanksgiving- not because ours isn’t amazing, but because we spend it too early and have nothing festive to do in November. November is cold. November is grey. November is frigging depressing.

I wish I could remember when I first came across the term NaNoWriMo. I’m sure it sounded mysterious, and that I had no idea what it meant, but that’s all I remember. That, and looking it up and going “OMG I AM SO DOING THIS.”

You see, National (international, really, but I’m not going to nit-pick) Novel Writing Month was exactly what I needed. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a brand spanking new novel in a month. You can have that be the end, though that would be an extremely short novel, or keep going right off of the end of that diving board into what for me turned into 99,000+ words at last count. They don’t have to be 50,000 GOOD words, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. Some people don’t see the point of writing 50,000 words that are just going to need to be re-written in December. I absolutely agree. I see no point in writing 2,000 word descriptions of what’s in a character’s pockets.¬†But let me tell you why it was and is so important for me.

I think know I’ve mentioned my perfectionistic tendencies before. I’ve wanted to be a writer for a long time–since first grade, actually, when I got a taste of the magic that was in-school publishing. The problem is that perfectionism isn’t a gentle voice whispering in your ear, “you can do better, I know you can! Let’s do this, let’s revise this, let’s make this amazing!”

No, perfectionism is a horrible bitch who sits there filing her nails and laughing at you for trying. She sneers at your efforts and says, “Really? That’s the best you can do? That’s not good enough.” Worse, she adds, “You know, if you can’t do it perfectly the first time, you shouldn’t bother trying. What’s the point?”

This led to a string of abandoned attempts at stories and¬†novels. Even when I liked them, Perfectionism was there laughing at me as she sat there drinking something pink that contained enough alcohol to fell a sperm whale, telling me that it didn’t matter. I wasn’t old enough, experienced enough, or GOOD enough for my work to have value.¬† A smarter person might have realized that you can’t just wait to be good enough, you have to work for it. I, however,¬†decided that my work was worthless because it wasn’t brilliant or awe-inspiring, and I gave up. I never got more than two chapters into a novel before it got tossed for not being good enough, or before my internal editor (not the mortal enemy that Perfectionism is, but she gets in the way a lot) started suggesting¬†that we make¬†some changes before we moved on. And then a few more. Between Perfectionism on one shoulder and The Editor on the other, I was completely stuck.

And then came NaNoWriMo, which gave me permission to tell those two broads to shove off for exactly 30 days.

The goal of NaNowriMo, as I’ve said, is not perfection, so¬†Perfectionism wasn’t allowed to say anything about it. ¬†The goal was (and is) ¬†to get the damned story out where I could see it. I could promise my internal editor that at the end of the month she could lose her sh*t on 50,000 words and revise to her heart’s content. It wasn’t a no, just a not now. She agreed (if somewhat grudgingly) ¬†to bugger off for 30 days. I still don’t know where she went. I know she came back to check up on me a few times, but for most of that month she left¬†me alone.

The word count goal was important, too. 50,000 words. 1,667 words a day for 30 days. It’s a big goal, but it’s¬† a short one. I could give myself permission to do that, or at least to try, and if it wasn’t great or perfect, so what? It was an experiment. An experience. It was fun and crazy, and it was permission to let my imagination go absolutely bonkers without worrying about the end result.

And what was that end result? If I recall correctly, it was 55,000 words, which I lost about a month later in a software-related accident that I’d rather not discuss. But here’s the beauty part: it didn’t matter. Well, it mattered at the time, when I was screaming and cursing and crying, but I’d learned something that helped me move on.

I’d learned that I could do it.

I¬†had the story in my head, and I’d written a good chunk of it once. There was nothing that was going to stop me from doing it again, and it was better the second time. My subconscious chewed at that plot for months, frequently checking in with the conscious mind for opinions, but mainly just churning away at night, when I was out walking, when I was on long drives. My characters fleshed themselves out in my mind, and there were some massive shifts in every aspect of that story.¬†The words flowed more easily the second time, and I got another 20,000 or so words down before Camp NaNo opened in August. And then I gave myself permission to get another 50,000 out that month.¬† And then I finished the story.

And oh my stars,  that feeling I got when it was DONE.

Of course, it wasn’t done. It was far from done.¬† I still had to put it aside and let it breathe for about 6 weeks, then let my internal editor have a crack at it (and boy, was she PISSED about how long it had taken). And then… well, all of the ripping apart, the revising, the things that were cut and the parts that were grafted in to make a monster that then needed serious plastic surgery from Ms Editor… that’s another story that you probably have no interest in hearing. But that’s how it goes, and that’s part of the fun. Part of the magic.

NaNoWriMo taught me that you can’t edit what’s not there, that it’s OK to make mistakes, and that I could give myself permission to just write for the joy of it, not because I had to produce perfection.¬†I will never produce perfection. But I made a world, a story, and characters that I’m proud to say are mine.

In two years I’ve gone from someone who could barely write a page without despairing over its deficiencies to someone who wrote a damned novel. Not a published novel; maybe not a great novel. But there’s value in the doing of the thing, in the process of creating and imagining and solving the problems that become visible after every read-through.

So here I go again. I’m letting a few people read the first book (they won’t all finish it, but that’s OK), and I’m ready to continue the story. I will give myself permission to take the time I need to get 2,000+ words out every day, knowing that at the end of the month I’ll be on my way to… more revisions. Yaaay.

BONUS FEATURES (NaNo’s, not mine)

The 50,000 words of not-perfection isn’t all of it. I just didn’t want to drag this thing on for too long. If you’re interested in giving it a shot, there’s also the forums to consider, where thousands of people from all over the world meet to talk about their books, to share their triumphs and commiserate over the hard times. There are places¬†on the forums¬†to¬†find help when you’re stuck, to ask what the airspeed of an unladen European swallow is, or to find a name for that character who just won’t tell you. If you want to find other people who are writing erotic zombie literary fiction kind of like you are,¬†¬†or just to kill some time between bursts of brilliance (or not), the forums are your place. There are people there who want to be your writing buddies, who will give you a good swift kick in the pants when you need it. There are the winner’s goodies: a nifty printable certificate and discounts from various sponsors.¬† And there are the pep talks from authors. I still have the one from Lemony Snickett saved in my e-mail because I loved it so much.

And did I mention it’s free?

For someone else’s reasons why you might want to try it (ie- not my reasons for thinking it’s super duper), here’s a blog post that’s not mine. You’re welcome.


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