I haven't posted in a while due to many factors. Start of school, which meant ramping up PTSA's at both kids' schools, as well as getting them settled into this year's routine. I thought I was going to work on one story for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year, but it was done percolating, so I started writing. The writing went well enough that I knew I could finish it before November, so I buckled down and did it. Then November hit, and here we are.
I finished my 50,000 words on November 18 and finished the story I wanted to tell a few days later. The draft came in around 64k. There are holes that I need to fill, and I need to braid the story together better. It's a paranormal romance with a murder mystery. The mystery is clunky, but the romance is working okay. This is why we revise.
Last year, I managed about 35,000 words. Family business kind of took over my life the last half of November last year. This year, everyone remained healthy, and I've developed better discipline with my writing over the course of the last twelve months. Participating in NaNoWriMo last year helped a lot, so did revising and rewriting the last two books in my Magic & Monsters series. I also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in July to help me revise Brimstone & Silver before the school year started.
NaNo may not be for everyone, but it is a challenge worth trying and worth trying more than once. It gets your butt in the seat and your head in the game. There's a lot of support from the writing community. Successful writers make themselves available to cheer you on, pass along tips, and answer questions. There are thousands upon thousands of people attempting the same thing at the same time and talking about it across social media. For a solitary occupation, it's good to know you're not alone.
One of the things that helped this year was going to IRL Write-Ins, joining fellow authors in the real world and writing together. Sometimes in silence, sometimes sharing what we wrote or what we're struggling with. Again, writing is a solitary experience, except when you take the opportunity to make it less so.
If anyone out there is thinking of writing their own book, consider using the community, resources, and motivation that NaNoWriMo provides to begin. However, if you're a person who gets anxious with deadlines and external goals or will feel like a failure if you don't make it to 50k, it might not be the best fit for you. The coaches and fellow writers are good at pointing out that any writing is progress, but for some people ambitious goals can be anxiety inducing and your continued good mental health is important for writing.
The idea isn't to have a perfect book by November 30th. The idea is to have a draft: clay to mold, pages to fix, ideas written. After that comes the really hard part. Editing, revising, taking your clay and making a beautiful vase.