Last time I updated, I was scraping the barrel of misery in search of a writing epiphany, and I hadn’t met my deadline. The good news: I managed to finish my edits and hand in the new draft of my novel just before Christmas Eve. The bad news: silence.
My novel feels amazing. I feel like I’ve polished up a rusty sports car (no doubt I forgot to replace the bumper or something, but STILL). The villains are uncomfortable and crescendo nicely, the puzzle pieces of the plot click together, the final sentence feels right.
As soon as I sent it off, my prospective agent replied positively, saying he would probably get around to reading it in the first week of January. Whatever the case, he’d let me know when he started reading it. Finally, I could relax for a couple of weeks.
Except, the first week of January rolled around…and I heard nothing. The second week came and went. Hesitantly, I sent an email asking when he’d assigned my novel to his reading schedule. He replied saying he’d not long returned from holiday, but he’d update me within the week to let me know.
He did not.
First off, before I ramble on about NaNoWriMo, do you like my new banner? I’m in love with this picture, created by Marta Dahlig. I wish I could have it framed on my wall. I’ve got a thing for fish that float through the air. And ginger girls.
It’s officially 14 days until the start of NaNoWriMo. Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you stocked up with coffee and microwavable food? Are you terrified that life will suck you into a void of stress and failure because you don’t know what you’re going to write about and you know that you’ve got too much to deal with this semester?
I’m here to tell you: don’t panic. I’m here to tell you: I’m excited and nervous as well. We can do this.
The key is to remember that you are about to embark on creating a first draft. It doesn’t matter how terrible it is (the first draft is always shit), it doesn’t matter how gaping the plot-holes are, and it doesn’t matter how poor your grammar might become. NaNoWriMo is a first draft.
Rule #1: don’t go back and edit.
Rule #2: if you have an idea for chapter two, make a note – have a NaNo note book. Don’t look back.
Rule #3: bombs are allowed at any given moment.
Rule #4: running out of steam? Kill off an important character.
It’s OK guys. This is going to be a super fun month and part of the fun is the pressure. We moan and groan and feel like the washing basket will eat us with its neglected dirty underwear, but we love being forced to immerse ourselves in a fictional world.
If you’re really worried about crunch day my advice would be to make a mood board. It’s my life saver. Pictures inspire you in ways you might not expect. Also: the way you subconsciously arrange the pictures on your mood board will tell you things about the characters or events. My professor would tell you to search through magazines and tear out any picture you’re drawn to, but I can’t always be bothered with that. The internet is just as good a resource. I would suggest browsing deviantArt or etsy. Now that I’ve chosen all my images to print out this year I’m feeling much more confident about my story idea.
Last year’s mood board:
You can do this. It’s time to psyche ourselves up and schedule our work load to fit with NaNoWriMo. You are an overflowing source of imagination and capable of great things.