A few years ago, I wasn’t working full time when November rolled around, so I decided I’d actually do it. I would write a novel in a month. And I did. It was grueling. At times I felt like pulling my hair out. I may have actually done so once or twice. But at the end of November I had a novel-ish thing. I won’t call it a novel- that’s giving it way too much credit, but it was the foundation on which Beautiful was built.
It took a couple of years for Beautiful to become what it is now. Well, a couple of years, several drafts, several beta-readers and two full edits. Because here’s the thing: it’s possible to write a book in a 30 day month that includes a major national holiday; but it’s (almost) impossible to write a good book! I include the parenthetical “almost” because I’m sure if I don’t someone will do it just to prove me wrong!
If anyone wants my opinion, I’d tell anyone considering NaNoWriMo to go for it. Even if you don’t wind up with 50,000 words, or a rough draft of a novel by the end of November, chances are, you’ll still have something to show for yourself. Once you have something it doesn’t matter if it’s good or not; you can make it better later on. So many people put “write a novel” on their bucket list, but never get started. NaNoWriMo is a great start. And having that start makes continuing that much easier.
I had no intention of publishing what I wrote that November. I just wanted to see if I could do it. When the end of the month rolled around I put it away for a few weeks. In January I took it out again, looked it over, and decided to try to make it a bit better. Then I put it away again, and repeated the process a few months later. Eventually I’d invested a lot of time and effort in it, and I wanted to share that with others. It felt weird to put all that work into something that would just sit on my hard drive forever.
But I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo since. Why? Well, I’ve been working full time these past few years. Maybe some people can work full time, come home, and write a few thousand words, but I’m not one of them. During my work week, I set modest writing goals for myself. That way I can feel good about myself when I meet them, rather than be disappointed in myself if/when I fail to hit a very high target. My process changes. It’s less of a sprint and more of a marathon. I hope that at some point I’m able to try it again.
But I wish creativity and luck to all those participating this year. I can’t wait to read your work!