October 2020 is an important month for me, the NANOWRIMO project I started in November 2019 will go to the publisher this month, just in time for me to start the sequel as my NANO project for 2020! While this isn’t my first NANOWRIMO project to see print, it is the one with the shortest transition from idea to ready for submission. And this one is headed for a bigger publisher than my first success with Johnson Farm.
A lot of credit for the book being ready to submit in (slightly) less than a year goes to the effort I put in to learn and develop my writing skills and process. It takes time to develop your workflow, your editing style, and your understanding of how to do the work. It takes experience to recognize mistakes and to fix them, or to avoid making them again. My fifth NANOWRIMO project is going to a publisher this month because of what I learned in writing and editing the last four books.
And, with this book safely on its way, I can use my experience with this book to go back and improve the previous ones. Late last year I decided I should do a reissue on Johnson Farm. I couldn’t leave things alone and felt the need to do a sequel and a parallel series. So, it makes sense to go back and ‘true up’ the original book with the things I’ve learned since. My 2018 project led directly to the idea I’m submitting this month and is a related (but so far unpublished) story. After completing my 2019 project, I know how to help that one on its way to success.
If you’re new to NANOWRIMO (or just to fiction writing…) writing a 50,000+ word manuscript can easily feel like the hurdle in the project. Those of us who’ve gotten that far realize it’s just the first hurdle in publishing a successful book. it’s not the end of the road, but it’s somewhere you have to go. And there are things you can’t learn about yourself and your process until you succeed in that step.
Writing that first draft is a challenge. And it’s easy to lose hope along the way, or even after you’ve finished the draft. Your first draft doesn’t look or feel like a finished book yet. Don’t expect it to! There’s more work ahead and more to learn. But by getting through that draft, you’ve taken a big step. You’ve beaten a barrier that keeps many people from succeeding. And now you can take the next step.
It’s all about learning. And sometimes you need to get a couple first drafts under your belt before you’re ready to move on to the next step (but keep trying in the meantime…).
As I mentioned earlier, I’m writing a sequel for this year NANO project. Next week I’ll introduce one of the characters who’ll be adventuring with me in this new book (I am relatively sure he survives this one…). In the meantime, dear reader, good luck in your own writing and editing and I’ll see you next post.