Yesterday, virtually every writer I know logged in to the National Novel Writing Month website for the month-long push to complete a novel, or at least 55K words of it, before December 1st. Am I one of them? Nope. November hasn’t belonged to me since MSB earned his 5th week of vacation (he’s been with the same company for 45 years). Between his preferred vacation days and Mom week, I never have the entire month to myself to indulge in a writing spree.
But I do finally get to write!
Can’t tell you how excited I am about that. I haven’t written anything longer than a blog post since February, when I finished Skydiving to Love for our novella collection, The Bucket List Dare. For the most part, I worked in my capacity as a freelance editor (and I thank each and every one of my clients for such a wonderful year!) until October, which I dedicated to my own writing. That dedication bit the dust with the release of The Bucket List Dare. New releases take a lot of time! (Not that I’m complaining.)
So now, almost three full months after I scribbled all those notes for Kayla’s Challenge in the Donald Maass Early Bird at the ACFW Conference in August, I finally get to pen those notes into novel form. I’ve been bragging about how I practically wrote the entire novella while in his class, right? Yowzah. I should’ve followed through right then, because now, everything seems scrambled.
But, just as all my NaNo-participating friends are doing, I’m pushing through, even though I’m not in the NaNo competition. The mess I wrote yesterday finally ended on a good note, but it’s still a mess. After being in “editor mode” for nine months, I need to turn off that side of my brain and give my creative side good stretch, like an athlete before a marathon. And I need to remember to give myself permission to write a mess.
That’s the benefit of NaNo. The writer is so focused on getting the words down before the end of the month, that there’s no time to self-edit, delete and revise, or even lament over the mess. Those who do don’t finish. Since I edit as I go, I’ve never finished 55K words in a month, even when I was an active NaNo participant.
But back to my primary problem. I have all these Maass-inspired notes I’ve taken, plus the common theme our group for this novella collection has, plus the idea that my novella will be the prequel to a novel I’ve already started. You’d think this would be easy—I thought this would be easy!—but I’ve been surprised. I tend to concentrate on one thing and forget all others.
Good news is, I can go back and weave, just like every other author on the planet. So if I can just keep myself from blocking out pages and pages of drivel and hitting delete, I’ll be good. I may even hit 55K by the end of the month—or, since I only need 25K for this novella, maybe I can hit my goal before the man goes on his two-week Thanksgiving vacation.