I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Last year, I took some rather timid steps into NaNoWriMo — which is to say I signed up on the site. I didn’t provide a name (Did I want to use a pseudonym?) or project title (Which did I want to write?). I did, however, start writing. I did not reach the officially sanctioned 50,000-word target, but I did put down some 7,000 words or so. And I kept writing, arriving at around 11,000 words by New Year’s Eve—at which time I found I had driven the story into a ditch. I needed to get some distance from that one before continuing, so I climbed out, walked back home, and started anew.
NaNoWriMo 2013 didn’t result in a draft. But what it did do was get me into the habit of writing, and I loved it. And so, on January 1, I picked up out of my archives a single paragraph I had written years ago, and decided to run with it. Every day I wrote, piling on the word count, not really knowing where the concept implied in those words would take me. It was an agonizing adventure. Before completing the draft, I started rewriting — which some would say is a fatal mistake, but for me it was essential so I could continue to build upon what had happened before. And so it went, rewriting old words, writing new words, cutting, editing, expanding … and crying, screaming, growling, laughing, at times despairing, but always determined to keep going.
After setting aside the previous novel, I was not about to give up on this one.
Some nine months and 75,000 words later, I completed my “first draft” and sent it off to my editor. In about a week, I expect to get her edits and notes back. And then I will be diving into revisions, which will keep me busy through the rest of the month, and who knows how far beyond? And so, no NaNo for me. But it’s where I started, and, indirectly at least, it’s what’s keeping me away.