Saturday, November 27, 2010

Closing in on the end

Out of internet range yesterday and had a relaxing time of it babysitting a niece and nephew; and enjoyed the break, even as I wrote the minimum and then some.

Writing isn't everything, nor is it the be all and end all. Three days to go. For those short of 50k, it's time to man up and do the rest. Mean of me? Why... no.

Sure, I have an impressive word count, but I worked hard for it. I sat down every single day and wrote. Just like, mmm... less than twenty percent of the people who signed up for Nano.

One thousand, six hundred and sixty-six words, every day for a month. Not such an impossible task. It's not.

If you want to be an author, it's less than what you should be doing, every single day. The majority of people who don't finish find all manner of excuse not to write. Even those who complete the challenge, find a reason not to finish the book, or who see their accomplishment as a book.

But then, Nano is also for those who want to see if they can write 50k. And I'm not disparaging the success of those who complete the challenge.

Unfortunately, some of those writers - for some reason - believe that 50k is a book. It's not. Three quarters of book, but... not a book.

For those who do Nano, December 1 is not the time to have a squealie fan-girl moment about how brilliant they are completing 50,000 words and immediately send it off to a publisher or editor. If you feel the need, STOP!

The last thing these hard workers need is to be deluged by writers who have just finished three quarters of a book and think it's fabulous and ready for publication. It is, at the basic level, a first draft; the bare bones of a book in need of editing and rewriting.

Let your work rest. Enjoy the month of Christmas and all that comes with the season, but let the work rest.

Come January, re-evaluate what you've written and decide whether it's worth sending off. Distance will give you a chance to forget what you've written and you can go back with a fresh, critical eye.

Nano, for some, is seeing whether they have what it takes to write the 50k; for others, it is a genuine attempt at writing a book, testing whether it is what they want to do on a professional level. For the editors and agents, it is three months of hard slog and rejection-slip sending; it is time taken away from true gems.

So. This last weekend, throw the relatives out of the house, determine to finish the book regardless of protests that you're not good enough, it's a waste of time or to get a real job.

This is the greatest challenge: can you or can you not, write a book? Will it be of any great moment to you if you don't finish? Or is it a hobby? Simply something to pass the time? To write 50k words and discard them? What is your choice? To be an author or dismissively write the words and reject Nano as too easy?

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