More things I thought I’d never do…

So I never thought I’d join a health club…and I did that yesterday (blogged about it, too). Here’s something else I never thought I’d do: sign up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again. And guess what I did today? I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

I have actually attempted NaNoWriMo once before (back in 2007). It did not go well. I simply couldn’t let go and write. But some good came out of that experience. A bunch of people in my children’s writer’s book discussion group signed up for NaNoWriMo, too. I’m not sure if any of us actually succeeded at producing a 50,000 word manuscript that November, but we found we enjoyed writing together. When NaNoWriMo rolled around again the following year, none of us wanted to actually do the official commit-to-writing-a-50,000-word-manuscript, but we really wanted to write together again. So we became the “NanoREBELS.” We set our own goals and got together to write just like the people who were doing NaNoWriMo. But when November ended, we kept going. And we’ve been writing together twice a week (sometimes more often!) ever since.

It takes me a long time to write a first draft. Longer than it should. Once I have a draft, I’m a very happy writer because then I have something to work with. I can revise, revise, revise…until my editor tells me I can’t revise anymore (and even then I’ve been known to try and sneak a few extra changes in).

Much as I love revision, you’d think I could spit out a draft quickly just so I could get to the revision, but I am so much of a perfectionist that I have to get each and every sentence right (even though I KNOW I’m going to change that sentence again later) before I move on to the next.

I’ve wondered if there’s help for me? Can I somehow teach myself to let go and write a quick first draft?

I’ve always wanted to write YA mystery/suspense novels…but I’ve never done it. Every time I set out to write YA, it becomes middle grade. (Do You Know the Monkey Man was originally a YA novel…and yeah, some libraries do file it in the YA section. But third graders read it. Much as I want it to be YA, it’s upper middle grade.)

But I’ve been plotting out a YA murder mystery off and on the last couple of months. And now I’ve got some time before I need to get the next Buddy Files book turned in, so I’m going to see if I can spit out a draft in the month of November.

I think the key to succeeding at NaNoWriMo is to have a pretty good idea of what the story is about. I don’t have as much planned out as I’d hoped to by now…but I have my beginning. I have my ending. I have a few critical scenes in between. And I’m hoping the rest will come to me. If not in the next three days, then while I’m writing.

Monday’s the day…ready or not, I start writing!

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