Well, I had my doubts, but here we are on November 30 and after two previously failed attempts, I can finally say I “won” NaNoWriMo. I crossed the 50,000-word mark on Thanksgiving. My novella turned out to be 43,000 words, so I picked up where I left off a non-fiction book to complete the 50,000 words.
Writing the novella in one month is a satisfying feeling. It’ll take me another month or two to revise it and I have plans to do that. But since it is a Christmas novella, I’m not in any real hurry. If I self-publish the book, I will have plenty of time to get it ready by next Christmas. If I go with a traditional publisher, I’m already too late for the 2014 Christmas season, so it won’t come out until 2015 anyway.
Speaking of publishers, a few people have asked me if I have a publisher for the book, and for the first time in many years, I can honestly say I didn’t think about that during the creation process. I know at least one publisher who will take a look at it, and I know two more who might, but we’re finally at the point in the publishing process in which a publisher is no longer necessary. I may just publish it myself. We’ll see.
Over the last thirty days I have learned quite a bit about myself as a writer.
I’ve learned I can work long hours during the day as an editor, but then still have enough energy to sneak away at night for a few hours to work on my own writing project. It means cutting back on TV and social gatherings, but cutting back on TV is probably never a bad thing and I still had time for a few social gatherings. I just had to be more intentional with my time.
I’ve learned I can indeed write fiction, and that thrills me because it has always been my dream. Selling fiction as a first time novelist is more difficult than selling a non-fiction book because you have to write the entire book first and then hope a publisher will buy it. It typically doesn’t work that way with non-fiction. But now that I know I can write a novella in 30 days, I might just make a habit – especially if my first novel sells well. By the way, it’s a series that can go on without end if people really like it.
I’ve learned I can write anywhere at any time and with more confusion going on around me than I ever imagined.
One of my NaNoWriMo writing sessions included standing at a table in an indoor soccer complex while my niece played soccer. I hammered out my remaining 300 words that night before her game started. Another included writing in a noisy restaurant late one night in which all of the customers were crammed into one section, presumably because it would be easier for the server to handle us. I slipped my headphones on and listened to nature sounds to drown out the noise.
Finally, I reaffirmed something I already knew – I can write on nearly any sort of equipment when necessary. In addition to writing on my laptop, I also wrote one scene on my iPad during a bowling league and a couple of more scenes on my AlphaSmart 3000 during halftime of a football game.
I have been going through writing withdrawals the past couple of days since completing my novella. That's a good thing. I need to harness that feeling to finish the revisions so I can move on to book two in the series.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.