The next step after NaNoWriMo, an online challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days, is to then spend 50 hours in one month to edit that piece of work. If you follow the online community challenge, NaNoWriMo occurs annually in November and NaNoEdMo follows in March.
However, my writing buddies and I decided to conduct our own challenge since we were a long way from November and we all wanted to start a new project. We would use the guiding principles of these two online events in our own time.
Now having completed NaNoWriMo, it’s time to begin NaNoEdMo and edit my manuscript. We set our deadline for completion as June 26, and I hate to say it, but here it is June 7th and I haven’t so much as hovered my mouse over the file.
I should be excited about reaching this part of the writing process, but I find myself procrastinating and conveniently finding so many other “things to do”. I think it’s because I wasn’t really ready to write my novel when we started the challenge, so my initial passion for the story fizzled somewhere in the middle as I struggled to come up with the old “what happens next?” routine, and I forced myself to reach the end anyway.
With that said, I think my approach to NaNoEdMo will be to:
First – read the manuscript. In my effort to adhere to the challenge’s prescribed guideline to turn off my inner editor, I wouldn’t re-read the previous day’s work; which is something I always do when I write any length of fiction. I find myself now a stranger to my own tale. It’s kind of a weird feeling. (I should add that AhHa moment to my list of NaNoWriMo lessons learned – read my previous day’s work, just make “editor” notes in the margin as the means to avoid editing when I’m supposed to be writing).
Second – if I feel the story is worthy of an edit/rewrite vs. discard, then I’ll spend the time now to work on the plot outline, character sketches, and main theme before I start reworking the manuscript – even if that means missing my deadline (heads up Buddies!).
Lastly, these busy summer days seem to consume my every moment with distractions that keep me from putting my pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. I will designate a manuscript editing time each evening (before I’m too tired to do quality work) and allow myself time each morning to work on my new story ideas and writing prompt exercises.
So here goes nothing…wish me luck! I hope my manuscript is better than I expect.