November is almost upon us and with that comes NaNoWriMo, more commonly known as Nano and actually short for National Novel Writing Month. Never mind that it’s international, not national, and that the actual goal is to write 50,000 words of a brand-new novel in the month of November. Which doesn’t usually complete a novel unless it is Young Adult or an unfleshed-out draft.
Nano is great fun. Zillions of people sign up and egg each other on. Lots of people don’t make it to 50K. But then again, a lot of them do. I have, three times. In 2004 I got 50K into the first draft of a fantasy spoof, Quest to be Queen, which I completed in March of ’05. That’s the next novel I’m planning to revise because I’m needing lots of good laughs, and Quest will provide those.
In 2005 I decided to try my hand at writing an inspirational romance, which is still unnamed though I did make it through 54K. It has a few really good scenes in it and, I suppose, some potential. If I ever decide to seriously aim for a career in writing romance I’ll certainly dust this one off. However, in the meanwhile, I’m not feelin’ it calling to me.
In 2006 I wrote a 57K YA fantasy dubbed The Girl Who Cried Squid. I had a great time with this novel, also, and it’s on the list for revision right behind Quest.
So, 2007…and I’m not doing Nano this year. Why not? Three of my seven first drafts were written during Nano! It seems as though the process works! Well, it does and it doesn’t. I was going stir crazy this summer and wrote a bunch of words on a contemporary women’s novel, Connect the Dot. I totally did this just for fun and because I really really needed to be creating something. The revision of Marks of Repentance was taking waaaaay too long.
So what have I learned? I think I need to have a writing project on the go: something I can work on a little at a time and that it’s okay if it takes a year to finish a draft instead of a month. Because every novel I write needs at least two more full passes, maybe more. So truly, my first drafting should be taking up (approximately) a quarter to a third of my writing time. Jamming that into one month in the fall, with overflow, isn’t cutting it for me. It makes it too long between creative times. If I could write one, revise one it would probably work, but then the first drafts would start building up and it would take forever to get something ready for market.
So this is my new plan. Not sure if it will work or not, but I need to try something new. I’m one of those people that, upon proving to myself that I can accomplish something difficult–and 50,000 words in a month is not a walk in the park–doesn’t feel compelled to keep proving that I can do it.