The last time I officially participated in NaNo, I was sixteen. I had an idea for a portal fantasy that I desperately wanted to write. But I’d never finished writing any stories, much less written enough to realistically tackle 50,000 words in a month.
Needless to say, that story never got written–even though I still want to write it. It hasn’t been the right time. And for a long time, that mentality bled over into my view of NaNo, too.
November’s not a good month for it. It’s hard for me to commit to that much writing in that little time. Except, when I sit down and actually do the writing, it’s not that bad. 1,667 words a day sounds like a lot, and when I first tackled NaNo, it was more than what I could easily do. I didn’t know how to outline yet. I didn’t know how to set myself up for success. But when it comes to actually writing, it’s not that hard for me to hit 2,000 words a day as long as I get two hours of dedicated writing time.
Part of overcoming the obstacles that kept me from participating in NaNo again was learning that while 1,000 words an hour is slow for a lot of authors, it’s good for me, and that’s okay. A lot of writers write very rough first drafts. Me, on the other hand… In the past year, I’ve consistently impressed editors with how clean my first draft is. I go slower. I front-load my work. I don’t leave a lot of “fixing” for the future me to handle. I work slow to ensure my grammar is all right, that I’m not starting too many sentences the same way, that I’m fixing typos as I go instead of making editors cringe later on. This is what works for me, and it means I’m slower up front, but save time in editing stages later. But writing a huge number of words in one month isn’t for everyone. Quality’s always going to be most important, and for some people, that means taking time to let a plot grow like a garden, minding delicate tendrils of storyline as they creep up the trellis of your plans. That, too, is fine.
But I have to be honest about this whole situation, too.
I thought completing NaNoWriMo would be exciting. That I’d feel a rush of success and achievement when I hit that 50,000 word mark.
I didn’t finish the book; it’s not even halfway complete. And now I have to put it aside until January at soonest, so I can focus on a few bigger things that take precedence right now.
Serpent’s Crown, book 5 of the Snakesblood Saga, is back from the editor and needs some extra love and care. This book suffered the most from restructuring the series to be 6 books instead of 3, and right now, the central arc of this story isn’t prevalent enough to make it a satisfying installment on its own. 5 books in, people probably expect a lot of setup for the grand finale, but I still need to do something to make it substantial enough to be satisfying on its own.
Serpent’s Blood, the last book in the series, will be back from editing toward the end of December, most likely, and I need to have book 5 done before 6 lands on my desk.
On top of that, Her Midnight Wedding is getting a little refresher this month ahead of the whole Keeper’s Kin series leaving Kindle Unlimited and being made available wide.
And there’s something special coming for the Westkings Heist series in a week or so, too.
December’s a month of wrapping things up, preparing for the new–and that means the new, the NaNo, gets pushed back to January… when I might have time to resume work again.