Heading For The Finish Line

Nearly a year ago, I participated in NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, in an attempt to write a short novel, or 50,000 words in one month. I didn't finish, but gave it the old college try, writing 33,637 words in the end.

But then... nothing. I meant to finish in the following months, but literally closed my laptop that day and didn't even go back to read my attempt. I was too terrified of how bad it actually was. And then life got busy. We decided to try to buy a house and sell our flat (a process that is still ongoing) and as part of that, I embarked on my massive clear out project.

Funny enough, two things I learned about myself during the clear out are 1) I was a prolific writer in my early and teen years but 2) never finished anything. Unless I had to. So all writing that was part of school assignments was completed, while anything I did on my own was begun with enthusiasm, but left languishing.

Journaling, I was better at, but I think my ability to stick to it was that I reasoned no one would ever see it and so there was very little fear of writing badly.

So in a literal and metaphorical sense, I've decided to start finishing things. I'm brushing the fear away for that child in me and two weeks ago I read all 33,637 words of my novel attempt. It was excruciating at times (well, most of the time), but also really interesting. I started out packing in so much information to each sentence and paragraph, like my journalism training would tell me to, but somewhere towards the end it starts to flow a little better and tell a story. There were parts that were so bad I laughed out loud. But there were also sentences or even paragraphs where I thought: well, that's not so bad.

The good news is at least I see where it needs a major editing overhaul -- particularly at the beginning. What I didn't know as a child, but I now know after years of professional (albeit factual financial) writing, is that all first drafts are bad. So if you can see through that then maybe it's worth working to finish something. Also, I am curious to see how I bring it to the ending I have in mind. So for those of you who have asked me if you can read it, be careful what you offer, as it is definitely going to need a good editor.

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  1. You go girl! I love the idea of being friends with a famous novelist!

    1. Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves here... but I am very happy for the support!


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