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NaNoWriMo Reflections

Last year was my first NaNoWriMo and I was a little bit spoiled. I'd got the entire book planned out already and I knocked out just over 73,000 words over the course of the month. This year, I approached it with a little more - if not dread, then certainly trepidation. I've been really struggling with my writing recently and have been doing lots of displacement activities in a bid to avoid actually sitting down at my laptop to work on the novel I've been writing this year. I wanted to use NaNo to get the first draft completed, but there weren't enough words left to get me to the 50,000 and I didn't want to be attempting to start a new book midway through the challenge.

In the end, I decided to join the NaNo Rebellion - those authors who use the month to work on anything BUT a new novel. I set myself three distinct targets:

  1. Finish my main edits on 'Unforgettable' and get it sent off to my editor. If it came back in time, complete her edits and get it ready for publication.

  2. Write the last 15-20,000 words of the first Avonstow novel.

  3. Re-work what was 'The Forest Children' and turn it into a different story.

These tasks would occupy me four days a week. Fridays would be spent at the Lido beginning my residency there and working on my Lido related novel or the projects I'd agreed to undertake. Although the novel would count towards my overall NaNo word count, it was an extra not an essential for my own list.

The first part of 1) was easy enough to do. Armed with an editing checklist from the Novel in a Year course, I dutifully began what felt like editing round 100 and got that ticked off. I was still thinking about 2) so skipped that and went straight to 3) as I wanted to get the book ready to go and editing and re-drafting is much easier than writing fresh, right? Well... maybe it is for some people! It took me until the 9th to get to halfway and that was the bit I'd already done a huge amount of work on re-writing! The second half was going to be the bigger challenge and again, I started faffing about writing this blog instead of just getting on with it. I had to be really disciplined to make myself walk away from the distractions of blog and mobile and actually tackle the remaining plot.

In the end, I managed to completely re-write the story and I think it was worth it - it's a much more cohesive book now and everything is set up ready for Parts 2 and 3 when I eventually get around to writing them!

However, part 2 of my self-imposed target nearly proved my undoing. I always find the last part of the book the hardest to actually write. I have no idea if it's a delaying tactic because I don't want to leave the characters, or if it's trying to avoid moving on to something new and unfamiliar, but whatever the reason, it's incredibly frustrating because the logical, sensible part of my brain, wants it finished so that I can move on. I end up feeling overwhelmed because there is too much on the go and my brain is already starting to think about the next project! This is worse than usual at the moment so I decided to make a list of where I was with the books so I could perhaps tackle the problem logically.

Adult Book 1: edited and in the publishing stage

Adult Book 2: waiting for editing

Adult Book 3: draft 1 complete

Children's Book: waiting for editing

Adult Book 4: draft 1 begun

I exceeded my targets - 'Unforgettable' is now ready for publication, Avonstow Book 1 is complete even though it took 22k words in the end and 'The Forest Children' has now become 'The Reign Of The Winter King' and I've started editing it.

However, I also have interviews to plan, blog posts to write, promo videos to create, books to review, an anthology to promote and the next issue of 'Makarelle' to get ready. Oh and the small issue of several other books all clamouring to be written...

It's time for a deep breath, an ordered list of jobs to be done and some more deadlines, I think!

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