I am off to a day of decorating my house, Christmas music and George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol. Before I do, I wanted to give you my last update for NaNoWriMo because it is the last day of the “contest”
I finished my book last week. The final word count sits at around 90,000 words before editing. Editing starts next week when I can get it printed (I don’t have a printer)
I’ve left my novel alone since I finished it because I want some space from it before I go back into editing. I can’t let it sit for a year before editing like some authors do. I’m just not that kind of writer. I’m not nearly patient enough and it would eat at me and make feel guilty if I tried to stick it in a drawer for that long. I may do a second draft, send it to beta readers and then let it sit for a month before revising for the final, but from first to second drafts I like to move quickly.
Getting a bit of distance from it though has clarified some things. For example, I have a story-line I elude to near the middle/end of the book that I was going to clarify on later. I decided it’s a story-line that adds nothing to the overall characters so I’m cutting out the whole thing. I have some extra chapters to write after I finish editing what I have, and then my boyfriend will read it and then I will send it out to my beta readers.
Here are the last couple of things I have learned this month:
1) The last couple scenes are the hardest to write. I spent days knowing exactly how it would end but not actually finishing it. I love my book, rough though it may be. And I have enjoyed the month I have spent with my characters. It was hard to end it. But finishing it-writing those last two words “The End”-was strangely satisfying. Like a weight had been lifted from my chest. It hadn’t been an unpleasant weight, but it was there. Now it is gone. Ready to sit on me again as I move into the next phase of my work, but I have a few days to breathe freely at least.
2)When I decide to sit down and write, if it’s not the first thing I do, I will dread it all day. Not because I don’t want to write or don’t know what is coming next. Just the imposing feeling of not doing something you know you should be doing. The longer you go without starting, the harder it is to do and the smaller word count you will end up with.
3)More than anything else, I have enjoyed the thrill of getting up every morning, making my BulletProof Coffee or drinking a Monster Ultra, and facing down the next 5000 words of my book.The day melts away and, by the end of the day, part of me feels like I wasted the day. The dishes aren’t done, the house is a mess, but I hit my personal word count goal so I feel successful and good about myself. When I was finished with my book it was satisfying to spend a couple of hours and deep clean my house. I had not realized how bad it had gotten in it’s poor neglected state.
4) I love having a finished first draft. I haven’t completed a full length novel in a while. I write short stories all the time.(last year I wrote a short story collection of Re-Told Christmas stories…I will be sharing some of them over December so follow me for those updates) I love writing short stories. I’m really good at short stories and writing tragic short stories is cathartic for me. But I’ve always wanted to be a novelist. Yet, I would always hit that point in the novel where I would tell myself “this is the worst thing in the whole world, why do I want to be a writer, this is stupid, I’m stupid, it would be better if I just deleted the whole thing and started all over” I hit that point in my NaNoWriMo novel as well but I knew if I deleted it, I would lose. And that wasn’t an option for me. So I pushed through. I got to the other side of the self loathing(more or less) and finished. It was a tremendous help to have the pep talks and to follow NaNoWriMo on Tumblr and Facebook where they were sharing that they were having the same problems I was having and still managing to stick it. And I’m proud of myself. What I wrote, even by the third draft, might not ever be something I want to have published (it might be…I’m thinking about it) But I finished it. Now I know that I can. Now I know how to push through the writer-ly depression that I hit at a certain point every time I write over 40,000 words. Now I’m ready for all the other novels that are calling my name.
What are some things you have learned doing this month? Who won? Let me know in the comments!
p.s. look for my new and improved selection of “What’s In My Queue” coming tomorrow, and if you are looking for some creative inspiration check out my guest blog I posted yesterday here