First Monday – NaNo Edition

The title of this post is a bit misleading – I don’t actually have anything to post. But I figured today, the first day of December, would be a great day to tell you how my NaNo experience went this time around.

It wasn’t any less stressful, that’s for sure. But it had almost nothing to do with the writing and everything to do with the day job. November is typically a busy month for me anyway, and this year was even worse. So why do NaNoWriMo at all?

I stated that I needed the push, and push me it did. There were times when I wanted to just put this story aside and work on something else. But remembering my NaNo commitment had me going back to it again and again, and it started to shape into something I liked.

I managed to get about halfway through the story when I realized one of the plot points I’d set up wasn’t going to work. NaNo is all about turning off your internal editor, but I decided to listen to it instead of shutting it up. So I went back and reworked the first couple of chapters to see if the new, more different plot point would work better – and I’m happy to say it does. Could I have waited until I finished writing the first draft to do it? Sure. But I would have worried too much about whether the change I made halfway through could have been affected by something that happened earlier in the story. I’m all about making things easier, not harder, and the prospect of having to do massive amounts of rewriting didn’t appeal. Hence caving to my inner editor and going back and redoing the first ten chapters.

My month wasn’t taken up entirely by work and review books and a half-finished NaNo project. I completed a new short story, finished most of the formatting for Rehab, created the cover, and completed editing for Touch and turned it into my editor a few days before Thanksgiving. I cannot begin to express how happy I am the re-write of Touch is done. Despite its short length (it came out to about 40k, shorter than I’d hoped), it was easily one of the most challenging projects I’ve taken on. Worldbuilding isn’t my strong suit (I prefer my urban fantasy strongly grounded in reality) and having to create an entire world was a struggle.

I’m looking forward to this month. I have no writing obligations, so I can pick and choose what I want to do. I could put aside the NaNo project in favor of completing Blink or Blood and Shadows. I could work through the edits on Hidden Scars so I can start on the next book in that series (titled Broken Down, after the Sevendust song). Or I could actually finish the NaNo project first before moving on, like a responsible author. The freedom is making me giddy. I might actually *gasp* DO NOTHING for a few days. My sister gave me a copy of Columbine for my birthday. I want to tear into that mother so bad. In fact, that sounds like a fabulous idea.

So while NaNo wasn’t a success, I don’t feel guilty. National Novel Writing Month is a great tool for new writers, giving them deadlines and a sense of obligation, and if you’ve never managed to complete a writing project, I highly recommend doing it. But stock up on wine first. Lots of wine. Wine spurs creativity, you know.

Did you NaNo? How’d you do?

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