It's almost that time of the year again when maniacs all over the world sign up on a website (www.nanowrimo.org) and vow to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th. And when I say all over the world, I mean all over the world. There are Wrimos (Nanowrimo participants) in Africa (including, but not limited to, Israel and other countries in the Middle East), Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and God only knows where else.
On one hand, I can hardly believe that an entire year has passed since Nanowrimo (National November Writing Month) 2010. On the other hand, I can barely remember what I wrote during the last Nanowrimo. That's probably because this year, after writing a draft of my fourth book during the month of November, I worked hard at rewriting my first book – a “romantic” suspense novel – increasing it from 57,000 words to a full length single title manuscript of 94,000 words. My reasons for putting the word romantic in quotes is the subject of future posts.
Normally, I write a book during Nanowrimo and then refuse to touch or even look at it again during any other month of the year. This year, I was determined to break that cycle and complete a polished full-length novel that I could submit to agents and editors. Thanks to seminars called “Fast Draft” and “Revision Hell” given by an author named Candace Havens, among others, I am well on my way to achieving that goal. I'll tell you more about those seminars in future posts.
Although I have been participating in Nanowrimo since 2007 and have managed to “win” every year by whipping out 50,000 words, I think this will be my most challenging year ever. I have a mediation and a trial scheduled to take place in November. I am a member of a gospel choir that is now in “concert mode” for an upcoming performance in December at the Arscht Center in Miami, Florida (with Take 6 and the Miami Mass choir) and I have embarked on a professional campaign that has me attending and participating in all sorts of events, lunches, meetings, conferences, etc. in addition to my normal job duties. Needless to say I am a tad bit busier than I normally am this time of year.
With all of that being said, I am determined to whip out another book and win Nanowrimo once again this year because, well, I am a writer, and as the head of my writers group likes to say: “writers write.”
One of the secrets to being a successful author is to be prolific. For me, that means I have to write at least one book a year. I hope to increase that to two or more novels a year, but I need to start somewhere. My goal for this year is to write a new first draft of a novel and to complete revising two of the novels I have written already. It sounds daunting I know, but I've already gotten further than I ever have before in revising my first book.
If you think you have a novel in you, you should participate in Nanowrimo this year. The accountability inherent in the program together with the pep talks, the resources on the Nanowrimo website and the fellowship with other writers is invaluable. That's why I'm able to write first drafts of novels during the month of November. Pick up a copy of Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days and sign up on the Nanowrimo website. You'll be that much further to making your dream a reality.
My handle on Nanowrimo is Candique. If you sign up, you can make me one of your buddies. I'll be happy to support you every step of the way. Let me know how it goes.