Tomorrow is November 1. Since 2006, I have participated to some degree in NANOWRIMO, an international novel writing challenge that got my first 200 pages under me in 30 days back in that heady first year. It took another 3 plus years to get the next 282 pages done, so you can perhaps imagine the frenzied scribbling and typing that took place in that one frantic month. I have a huge soft spot for NANO because without the grip and gravity of those first 200 pages to anchor me, I’d probably still be back at about page 8, with perhaps two or three little one pagers – my previous specialty – to throw in.
Truthfully, I haven’t been an orthodox participant in the competition since 2006, but every year I sign up and use the NANO website, forums, and sheer nerdy energy to power through some difficult rewrites and editing. Rather than begin a totally new project, I commit to visiting with my novel every day in the month of November. It isn’t enough, but for someone with a full time job, that often feels like full time and a half, it’s still really good.
This year, for the first time, I am leading a Novel Writing Elective and have signed our group up to the YWP to help motivate us and track our progress. I am excited about that and also about finding the time, despite their being really none available, to edit and revise every day in November. As per NANO’S quote, it will be 30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon.
That said, I have a real deadline now. I have an editor scheduled to read my entire main manuscript on December 15, and that will be a combination of helpful and horrifying, no doubt. That deadline seemed far off in the impossible distance when I booked it months ago, and now here it is, looming large. I have so many things to work on in the edits, I just hope I can fit another full go through in with the time I have.
In class, I am using a YA novel/memoir (still just a first draft jointly written by my twin and I) to occasionally provide exemplars of a given element. That will be my November class project, given its suitability. So that’s where things stand now.