How NaNoWriMo Turned Out

In my last post, I was in the exciting early days of November, which always marks for me a frenzied month devoted to National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month or about 1,700 words per day. When I last blogged, I was six days into the project.

Well, I finished! And I made it!

I hit the 50k mark accidentally on November 25. I say “accidentally” because I hadn’t realized I was so close, and the word count update that put me over the threshold was just casually entered. There was no fanfare or celebration on my part. I had planned to keep writing that night, too. I managed to write every single day up till then, proudly earning badges for my consistency, but reaching the 50k goal on the 25th left me with a slight dilemma. Should I celebrate my early completion and be done (and recover that time for other projects), or should I keep going to get the badge for updating the word count for 30 straight days?

I do NaNo each year to keep myself on target to write a book a year, and so far it’s worked well. It’s not an ideal time of year for me, but it’s important to have dedicated time and space for writing, or it can easily become something pushed aside for things that feel more urgent. Page proofs, for instance, usually have tight turnaround times, but writers who intend to make a career of their writing have to ensure there are always projects at varied stages of development. NaNo helps me get drafting done, so there’s a new book waiting to be revised and submitted.

One of the problems with this model, though, is that 50k is not enough for an entire novel. There are about fifty pages left to write in this year’s effort. Another problem is that the breakneck pace of trying to get 50,000 words spewed out in thirty days means very little time for revising – and, as you know from my previous posts, revising is everything to me.

Last year’s NaNo creation was the royal romance that is now The Queen Has a Cold. After last November, I spent another month revising it, including one major character change. Then the book went to an intersex consultant, and finally it underwent another two weeks of revision before it was submitted to my publisher. I will soon be getting back my editor’s notes, and then we’ll have another round of editing, followed by proofreading, before it will finally be published in April. From my initial concept last summer to publication, it will have been a 20-month odyssey.

Still, as a writer who holds down a full-time job, I appreciate events like NaNoWriMo for helping me keep my writing schedule regimented, even if it does mean November has a lot of very late nights.

Next week, I’ll give you a sneak peek at what this year’s NaNo story turned out to be. In the meantime, you can pre-order The Queen Has a Cold at the Bold Strokes Books website, and my first book, The Holiday Detour, is for sale everywhere.

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