NaNoWriMo 2014: Winner!

Whew. Okay, so I “won” NaNoWriMo 2014, my ninth win. This year’s book was the Victorian erotica novel, The Westerman Affair.

Here’s a peak at my progress through the month of November via Facebook:

November 3rd
November 4th
November 6th
November 8th
November 9th
November 12th
November 16th
November 19th
November 24th
November 28th
November 29th
November 30th

p.s. In the midst of NaNoWriMo this year, I had an anthology go up for pre-order, I celebrated a big birthday, I had another short story involved in a blog tour, and I posted a bunch of photos of half-naked men. You’ll have to check my Facebook feed for all of this!

Another project I was involved in this year was Writer’s Digest’s There Are No Rules blog. Below are links to the NaNoWriMo 2014 blog posts I was involved in:

Meet the NaNoWriMo Experts: You’re Not Alone: NaNoWriMo Experts Share Their Stories & Experiences
Starting NaNoWriMo: Finding the Motivation to Write
Don’t Let NaNoWriMo Get The Best of You: Find Your Happy Place
Writer’s Block: Avoiding the Struggles of NaNoWriMo
Adapt Your Writing: How NaNoWriMo Changes Your Daily Writing Routine
Halfway There: Finishing NaNoWriMo Strong
The NaNoWriMo Progress Report: How Are You Feeling?
One More Week: Staying Motivated at the End of NaNoWriMo
Lessons Learned: Takeaways From NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo Reflections

I just submitted one more contribution to the Writer’s Digest blog series, so I’ll post the link if and when it goes live [Update: link posted above]. However, I’m posting the content below. It’s aimed at everyone who thought about attempting NaNoWriMo but was afraid to do so or people who quit NaNoWriMo because of self-doubts:

You know what? My story is a mess. There are inconsistencies, plot holes, and I have no idea where my hero’s sister went after page 3, but she suddenly became an important plot device at the end of the novel.

If I handed the manuscript to an editor right now, it would come back to me slashed with red and flagged with comments like “what does that even mean?”

Well, I know what I meant to write, my characters know what they meant to say, but you know what? No one else knows any of this right now.

That is the beauty of NaNoWriMo. You’re writing for the sake of writing, forming all those ideas and images into words. They may be the most clunky words ever, but they are words. And words can be reformed into better words. That process is called editing.

To quote Chuck Wendig: “Writing is when we make the words, editing is when we make them not shitty.”

To quote Nora Roberts: “You can’t edit a blank page.”

November is not National Novel Editing Month. Nope. (Apparently that is officially in March.) November is writing quantity month. 50,000 words of quantity.

What did I get out of writing quantity not quality? I got a few plot twists and details that I had not considered when I started working on the outline. I also cut some fat out of my story. I had a whole plot line involving the hero’s sister that just didn’t add anything to the story, and, I discovered while frantically typing, I wasn’t interested in that plot line anyway. However, as noted in the first paragraph of this essay, the sister still needs to play some part. I’m just not quite sure what that part is.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, NaNoWriMo is the way to do it. The great thing is that 1667 words a day is a big chunk of words and yet, at the same time, a manageable chunk of words. I actually pace myself accordingly (although I tend to write in scenes rather than word chunks). I’m not a fast writer, I’m not the best writer (initially; I pretty much rock after edits), so if I can do this, so can you.

NaNoWriMo. We’re all winners.