I’m very proud of my efforts during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. I talked about that last week. This week, I want to talk about NaNoWriMo in the greater context of my writing process.
Writing is a process. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different. That process also looks different for each and every author. Some do more planning up front. Some are like me and Terry Pratchett who said “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Some struggle over drafts and relish the chance to edit. Others (like me) love the drafting process and get bogged down during revisions and edits.
My writing process is cyclical. I’ll draft for a while, edit for a while, draft for a while, then edit some more. I’ll also cycle between projects. I draft project 3, then work on editing and revising project 2, then draft project 4 and then move on to another round of edits for project 1 or 2 or perhaps jump into editing project 3. It’s not nearly as consistent as that, and the time period for each part varies greatly. I might draft for a few weeks then edit for a few months or vice versa.
November is always a drafting month. December is often a time I use for a break, but this year I want to try to keep going at least a little with my writing projects. I’m planning to wrap up the ending for my NaNoWriMo 2018 novel even if I don’t have any immediate plans to fix it up for sharing. (Sometimes a writing project is much more about enjoying writing it than it is about anything else.) I’m also poking through some old drafts trying to decide what I want to work on next. I probably should return to my revisions of Book two, but I’m hoping to get feedback from a couple more beta readers by the end of the year, so I think I’ll plan to hit the ground running with that in January.
So this December I’d like to do something writing related every day (maybe even on Christmas and New Year’s Eve). This could be drafting the end of my NaNoWriMo project. This could be working on blog posts. This could be finding another project to work on editing. It might even mean taking the time to watch some videos and learn how to use Scrivener a little better so I can try it out for my non-chronological time-bending novel that I have to determine a story order for.
NaNoWriMo seems to work well for me because outside people are aware of my writing and my project and there’s pressure to meet expectations (in a good way). So I’m announcing my December goals to the world (and my friends who read this) so I’ll know that someone knows my plan, and that should help me stick to it. These past few days have been hard, since I had a statistics exam to study for, but I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the material, so I think I was safe to take 20-30 minutes for writing each day before I started studying again.
Here’s to all of us with December writing goals. May we meet them head on, push through the holiday stress and commitments, and come out at the end of the year with more than we started the month with.