National Novel Writing Month was not easy for me this year, but somehow I scraped past 50,000 words on November 29th, the day before it was all “over.” Of course, it’s not really over for me, and it won’t be this time for a while. This new novel I’m working on, Red Planet, feels different from the others that I’ve worked on before. It is not remotely done yet, though I did hit 50,000 words in time. Currently I’m at 55,000 words and I plan to get to 80,000 words as a first draft goal by January 5th. I’m working on a contract with an editor so that I can get some real feedback on the first draft, and taking nine days off in late January to do nothing but focus on my story. Then the plan is to release a second draft to beta readers some time in March.
I’m excited for the “writing vacation” since I’ve never done anything like it before. At the same time, I am intimidated by the amount of work that lies ahead. I know that taking a draft seriously and reworking it, molding it into something that’s actually decent, is a tough task. It is real work after the 40-hr work week to keep creative stamina going. That’s why I will appreciate just having days to immerse myself in the world and work on the story, actively, with my editor.
I still plan on continuing my contributing work to Women Write About Comics while I work on this novel, as I can’t stop writing. This was supposed to be my year of “no writing” and “time off from writing”. Yet, I feel drawn to it, even when it’s hard to put my thoughts into words. I love to digest excellent (and excruciating) stories and think about how they are put together, why the creators chose to draw this, or write that. How can I do the same?
This last year, I managed to read more than 40 books, comic books and graphic novels all told. I wrote 25 articles for WWAC, Sidequest, and Ms. En Scene combined from July – December. And I will finish the first draft of a new novel. In retrospect, as other creators know, things that seemed hard to create at the time can feel rewarding later. That’s how I want to remember 2017. It was the year that I had a hard time writing, and pushed through that to accomplish more than I truly ever thought possible in one year, let alone six months. I’m so glad for the inspiration that the WWAC community has given me, on a number of levels. That and my dear husband Nick, who spent many nights sacrificing our time together so I could write, read, play and watch all kinds of things.