The Joy of This Year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Experience
I didn’t intend to take the whole month of November off from my blog, but that’s how it worked out. Once I started working on a new project for NaNoWriMo, I got swept up in plot and characters and a few side trips to the internet for research…and I was focused. I was really, really focused. Haven’t felt that joy in a while, so I wallowed in it. Wrapped it around my shoulders like a cozy fleece blanket. Even used my focus to plug my ears and tune out the drummer guy who plays in his garage next door to my office.
At 50,192 words, reached on November 29th, I had the count verified on the NaNoWriMo site and was declared a winner. I’m a winner! The only other time I accomplished that was 2011, my first time at NaNoWriMo. I skipped 2012, then tried again in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. In each of those years, I did write some new words, but didn’t come close to the big goal.
Okay, so what does 50,192 words, written by the seat of my pants, get me, you ask?
It gets me the skeleton of a novel that I can add to, revise, rewrite, and eventually polish for submission. It’s 50,192 words I didn’t have before.
My goal is to finish the whole book by the end of January…or maybe February…but at least before I go to Left Coast Crime in Reno, NV, in March 2018.
This is the book of my heart, and it releases December 20, 2017 from Five Star/Cengage Frontier Fiction. Publishers Weekly called it a “worthy historical” and described the characters as “surprisingly complicated and wonderfully individual.”
The novel is set in central Illinois in the early 1800s. The timing is nice, because the State of Illinois celebrates 200 years of statehood in 2018.
Starting in January 2018, I’ll be rejoining this team blog of editors and authors as a regular monthly contributor. Back in 2009 or so, my Self-Editing One Step at a Time series was posted there, and the BRP group is rerunning that series right now as part of their December reruns. Those posts will lead up to my Book Birth Day post on December 15th.
If you’ve never followed this blog before, check it out. You’ll find everything from editing tips, to reviews of writing books, to researching costumes. You can sign up to get the posts in your email, or you can visit the site and search by topic to find posts you need.
Meanwhile, if you need a little boost on that self-editing phase of your project, check out the first post in my series. It’s all about that novel arc and how you can identify those spots that sag…or wilt.
Planning for 2018
I’m heading back for another read of Colleen M. Story’s Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, especially the sections on setting priorities. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It’s just as helpful to folks in real world jobs as it is to writers and artists.
In 2018, I’d like to try something each week that I’ve never tried before (like quilting) or visit a new place (such as the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO). All those goals about reading more and writing every day are fine, but we need adventures. Maybe those experiences become a little less strenuous as we (meaning I) get older, but we still need excitement and new challenges. I might even try learning Italian…or Norwegian. And maybe even take some lessons on that ukelele I bought some time ago but haven’t had time to tune, much less play.
What About You?
Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? Do you have a new book coming out soon? Have you ever heard of the Blood-Red Pencil blog? Or Overwhelmed Writer Rescue? What exciting new things have you done lately?
Madeline mora-summonte says
Yeh for winning NaNo and congratulations on the new book!
Such an inspiring post! Makes me smile and think a little more positively about the new year. Thanks! 🙂
L. Diane Wolfe says
I could use that book. I could also use the Overwhelmed Publisher Resuce, too.
We all need help from time to time, Diane. I’m so fortunate to have a great critique group to help keep me writing and to keep reminding me of my bad habits. They can’t help me with the overwhelmed part though. I have to figure that one out on my own.
Margot Kinberg says
I’m really happy for you, Pat, that you got such a great start on your new novel! That’s terrific! And I love the idea of trying something new. It freshens up the perspective, I think, and gets the creative juices flowing.
We just had a brand-new hotel open up in our old town area, plus several new and unusual restaurants. I could just focus on visiting those places and keep my whole year busy…of course, I’d probably gain about 50 pounds. Maybe I’d best find lower calorie adventures. 😀
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
Congratulations on beating NaNo! Now you have a project to work on.
Trying something new sounds like a good idea.
It’s good to keep our mind alive by presenting it with new challenges, Alex. I’d like to take tango lessons, too. 😀