Category Archives: National Novel Writing Month

Time to Reflect

I have taken the summer off. I’ve biked, hiked, knitted, hassled, fretted, sweated, gardened and napped.

Now the harvest is coming in hot and heavy and soon I’ll be putting food aside for the winter (already have lots and lots of applesauce, raspberries and rhubarb in the freezer for morning oatmeal), and I’m eager to get back to writing.

I recently wrote about the value of lying fallow. This has been a good time for me. For certain, I still write, but what I’m writing has more to do with posts and blogs and copy for Wordcrafters’ variety of literary events. I now need to get back to my personal work.

So this morning, I tallied what I have that is incomplete, but still holds my heart. This exercise was both gratifying and horrifying.

  • Four novels – first drafts complete, awaiting rewrites.
  • Three novels – first drafts in process.
  • Two novels – outlined and ready to go.
  • Four nonfiction books in various states of completion.
  • I also deleted a few fits and starts that no longer interest me.

When I decided to take a few months off, I was convinced that I had exhausted my creativity, that I really didn’t have anything new to say. Today, I look at my list and I am excited to prioritize and get busy, mostly because I have a whole batch of new ideas popping up in my head every day. Clearly, however, I need to finish something before starting something new.

I participated in NaNoWriMo last year (National Novel Writing Month – Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days), and that was not only great fun, but it helped move forward a project that had been languishing. I only wish I had come to it better prepared, as I ended up with a very messy first draft. My first drafts are usually untidy, but not this ugly. So this November, I will work on one that I have already outlined. Between now and then, I intend to complete one of the novels awaiting rewrites.

My self-imposed hiatus lasts until mid-September.

I wonder if I can wait that long to get started.


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Filed under My New Novel, National Novel Writing Month, Possibilities, Summer, Writing


Those of you participating in NaNoWriMo:  Ready?  Set?  Write a novel!

Good luck.

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Filed under National Novel Writing Month, time, Writing

It’s that time of year

National Novel Writing Month begins November 1. Check it out. I know lots of people who have participated in this, and they all say it is an incredible grind, quite an adrenaline pump, and at the end… they have a terrible first draft.  But they do have a first draft, and that’s the point.

With very few exceptions, all first drafts are terrible, so if you need permission to pound out a terrible novel, you have it, and you’ll be in the company of thousands of others writing similarly horrible first drafts.

If you’re going to participate, and I hope you do, now is the time to get your ideas together, maybe even make your outline. The better prepared you are at 12:01 a.m. on November 1, the better your first draft will be.

Here’s the thing: If you participate, and you succeed (win!) by writing a verifiable 50,000 words between November 1 and 30, you will have learned a lot. You will have learned a lot about characters, plot, pacing, and your own limits.

Many people say that the first novel written is never the first one sold. I say the first novel written is usually so autobiographical that it is almost never sold at all, and that’s a good thing. So get it out of your system. Write your practice novel while in the company of over 70,000 others. Take advantage of everything that the fun, amazing website has to offer, and jump in with both feet. It’s only one month. What’s one month?

Do it.

And on December 1, let me know how it went.


Filed under Discipline, National Novel Writing Month, Writing