Thanks, NanoWrimo (not really)

I now have a half-finished manuscript on my to-do list…thanks NanoWrimo! </sarcasm>

As if being sidetracked from my current project wasn’t enough, I now have another manuscript to finish added to my plate…but I guess I only have myself to blame.

And now, I’m stuck between Do I finish the editing for my first novel and Do I finish writing this manuscript, even if just to get a first draft down?

Finish editing my first novel:  It was my goal for the year to have 5 beta readers read my first novel.  I’ve gotten 3 done, and it’s been sitting on this since September.  September/October were busy months for me work-wise (and vacation wise ;D), and then NanoWrimo took up all of November.

Taking a bit of time off from my first novel is actually a positive, as it gives me a break from reading the same thing over and over again, and now I can come back to it a bit refreshed.  However, because of all the changes I made based on feedback from the other three beta readers, I have to re-read my novel and make sure that all those changes I made were consistent.  I still have December to re-read my novel before submitting it to my last beta readers, but with the holiday season coming up I’m not sure if anyone will actually read/finish before the end of the year.  It’s a busy time for everyone, so the only thing I can really do is submit it.

Finish the NanoWrimo manuscript:  Hey, I wrote half of it in one month alone, so it wouldn’t be too out of reach for me to finish the entire manuscript within another month or so.  It would get the story out of my mind, and allow me to go back to focusing on my first novel with no distractions come the first of the year.

Or…would another manuscript to edit just be another distraction?

I’ve been sitting on my first story for a long time, now, and I really don’t want to wait any more.  If I have another manuscript ready for editing, I might be tempted to just start editing that and put off my first novel for even longer.

This is something to mull on for sure.

My opinion of NaNoWriMo:  This was my first NanoWrimo, and will likely be my last.  The main reason I haven’t done NanoWrimo before is because in the past I’ve finished my manuscripts by the month of November, and by that time I usually need a break from writing.  My feelings about it are rather mixed, but overall the cons outweigh the pros.

The Pros:  As stated above, it felt good to get a story out of my mind and onto the screen.  It was fun too, but honestly only for about three weeks.  And I figured it takes me an average of about 2 hours to write 1667 words, so long as I don’t need to research in between and I know where the scene is going.

The Cons:  NanoWrimo is, well, not going to make me (or anyone) a better writer.  It might make you a more efficient writer time-wise, but not necessarily a better one.  I don’t think it’s exactly the goal per se either, but it’s important to not conflate the two.  Next, if you’re like me, and you enjoy writing long-ish epic fantasies, then 50,000 words is simply not enough to flesh out a story, so, as mentioned above, it just adds another item to the list.  Last, by the end of the month, NanoWrimo started to feel more like a chore than fun, which isn’t how I want to write.

Sean Munger wrote a pretty good summary of my overall feelings of NanoWrimo, so instead of rehashing what he wrote, I’m going to paste my most agreed part:

You’ll note, if you browse the NaNoWriMo webpages, that there are no badges for, say, coming up with a compelling character, or working out a satisfying plot twist, or communicating an emotional idea to a reader. Coming up with the perfect ending or figuring out a character’s motivation don’t result in badges or get writers on the little map that fills up day after day on the webpage showing participants’ progress. What is measured? Word count. Word count. Word count. That’s really all that matters.

The entire blog is here.

So, unless I have absolutely no other projects (manuscript edits or otherwise), I will likely NOT be doing NanoWrimo again.

Now, because didn’t do NanoWrimo through the official website, I don’t have a word counter.  Instead, I’m going to keep my 50,000 word draft as is, and not change it save for a few consistency/spelling/grammar edits.  I will copy the content to a new file and continue that instead.  One day, whenever this book gets published, I will then release the first 50,000 words I wrote along with it – allowing one and all to see the horror that is the first draft.

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