Winning is just the beginning

Whenever NaNoWriMo ends, I feel a twinge of sadness. Whether I’ve met my 50,000-word goal or not (and this year, I did!), there’s a bittersweet feeling to the end of National Novel Writing Month.

But guess what?

Winning is just the beginning!

What exactly do I mean by that?

For one thing, although I did write just over 50,000 words in the month of November, after going through my Scrivener manuscript I’ve discovered only about 15,000 of those words are truly contributing meaningfully to my story.

Does that mean I should stop writing? Of course not! Throughout the month of December, I’ll keep working on new scenes, building between the ones I’ve already got and embellishing as I go. Eventually I’ll have a full-length first draft.

And then, it’s on to revisions!

Someone once observed that all writing is rewriting, and that’s definitely true for me. Even if I write the whole story in one big burst of excitement, there’s still a need to go back and re-read what I’ve written, smooth out sentences that don’t quite sound or feel right, tweak this or that, and generally keep working with the clay of the story until it feels like it’s as fully formed as I can make it.

Then, it’s into the fire for some hardening up: professional editing!

As you can see, I’ve still got plenty of work to do. And that’s fine with me. When I started my NaNoWriMo journey this year, I was adamant that I wanted to have a full and complete manuscript by November 30th. But, somewhere along the way, I let go of that hard-and-fast goal and decided to just go with the flow.

This book isn’t keeping to my schedule, but meandering around a bit. So I’m giving myself and my book the time we both need to get to know each other, play around a bit more, and figure it all out.

Sometimes writing is a sprint, and sometimes it’s a marathon.

For now, I’m enjoying my leisurely time in Paris, persuading a couple to fall in love.

La vie est belle!