Wednesday, December 24, 2014

End of Year Fear

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! I'm at my in-laws' place again, but thankfully it doesn't feel like I'm dying this time around. I went to the doctor and he pulled out all the stops. I'm on so many allergy medicines that I'm pretty sure I could be a superhero if I wanted. Hopefully you are all enjoying your holidays, too!

So I don't know if this will make any sense at all, or if it's late and Christmas/the end of 2014 has sent me into an existential crisis (probable), but here goes nothing.

A big part of the reason I keep this blog is so that I can have a record of all the crazy stuff that happens during my publishing journey. I could give writing advice, but there are plenty of other people more qualified to do that than me. I could talk about my regular life, but my life involves enough Netflix that you'd get bored pretty quickly. What I love reading about are people who are in similar bookish situations as me, or people who have been there but made it out with a book deal eventually.

So part of me hopes I can look back on this and laugh at how high stress I was. And part of me hopes there's someone else out there feeling the same way right now.

I AM AFRAID AGAIN. Shocking, right?

I sent out my MS to three beta readers, and I've gotten back notes from two. I'm not sure when the third ones are coming in, so I decided to get started on another round of revisions, and if the third beta hasn't been able to get particularly far into the MS, then I can send her the updated draft and hopefully get even better feedback! Wahoo!

But the more I revise this book, the more attached I get to it, and that scares me.

I love these characters, and I love this story. It's personal in a way that I haven't really experienced before, and I see myself in a character I wasn't expecting, which ties me to it further. This story helped to pull me out of a not-so-great time, and I really want it to succeed.

There's advice all over the place to not get too attached to any one story, that the first novel you query is almost never the one that gets you the agent or the book deal. And up until this point, I've done a really great job keeping my expectations low. I've always been okay with the idea that this book might not be marketable enough to be THE BOOK. I had no problem shelving a handful of other projects, knowing that they weren't good enough to query.

I really want this book to be THE BOOK, though. And there's no way to guarantee it will be. But oh man, do I love it, and oh man, do I have some great ideas for if it does get an agent or a book deal.

Anyone else here now? Or been there, done that, got the agent?

Maybe I just need to tell myself that it's okay to really love something I wrote, even though it might not get me an agent right now. Probably I need to stop talking down to myself about what MIGHT happen and just get off my butt and do something. I won't know until I try.

And look at that, my stressing has brought me almost to midnight. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals. Hope your day is merry and bright. :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

So This Happened

I won NaNoWriMo 2014!!!

It took a LOT of work. As I mentioned a few days ago, I was crazy sick all this week. I'm still not sure how much of it was allergies and how much of it was some weird virus or something. There were definitely multiple things going on. But I spent a ton of the car ride home writing, and my husband took care of everything once we got home so that I could keep writing to the finish line.

I verified my novel at 50,136 words and came out of it with a completed first draft. I'm sure there are going to be a ton of things to do when it comes to revisions (both bulking up certain plot lines and getting rid of some scenes that felt super fluffy). I'm hoping to begin revisions in a week, while I'm on a trip to Florida!

Here's a few things I learned this month:

  1. Throw out all of the rules you've set for yourself. When you're writing a first draft, don't worry about all of the rules of fiction and all of the things you think are necessities when you're writing. Breaking rules can sometimes lead to amazing results (and if they don't, then you can fix it in revisions). Think you need to write small amounts at a time? Try an 8k day. Think you HAVE TO HAVE Cheez-Its when you write? Try just water. At the beginning of the month, I thought writing in huge chunks wasn't for me. But I had a great word count day on the 25th, and came out with my highest yet word count in a single day (shown to the right). Also, I wrote 25k in the fourth week alone!
  2. Writing friends are the best. I can't tell you how encouraging all of the people on Twitter were. If I ever needed a pick-me-up, I just had to use the NaNoWriMo hashtag, and people were always there to help. And it felt great when I could give that encouragement to others, too! We were all fighting that battle together, and "win" or not, we all got words down on the page, which is amazing! And when I wanted some more personal help, the WordNerds and my writing group were perfect. We sent so many emails back and forth on that last day, and it's a big part of why I kept pushing through to the end.
  3. I am definitely a writer (and so are you). Sometimes I worry that if writing was my full time job that  I would end up tired of it. I've had a lot of jobs that I thought I would love that ended up not being what I thought they would be, and my biggest fear has been that it would happen to writing, too. But it hasn't, and if you love writing enough to try to tackle a whole novel, it isn't going to happen. This is the fourth manuscript I've ever completed, and if I'm not scared off yet, I don't think it's going to happen. Writing is awesome yay! (Of course, I'm high on the finishing up of another novel. I'm sure at some point I'll feel UGHHH again. But never UGHHH enough to quit. :) )
I'm feeling so pumped! Here's a visual of my last three years:

And I tried combining them so you could see how it looks on top of each other... It's a little hard to see, but still fun! Sea foam green is 2012; blue is 2013, and purple is 2014!

How did you do this NaNoWriMo? Whether or not you "won," I am super excited for you. You got words on the page!