For the last 3 years I have participated in Nanowrimo, or crazy writing month as it is known in my household.  The whole point of Nanowrimo is to write a first draft or at least 50,000 words of one during November.  I have always enjoyed Nanowrimo and had hoped to start my next novel this month, I know what it will be about, who the characters are and the basics of the plot. I am confident that I would be able to chalk up my third win in four years if I took part.  But its not going to happen this year.

My productivity this year has been very small, I have been trying to get my first book ready to publish.  I have sent a much revised draft to be developmentally edited and have been working on completing the edits suggested.  The problem is that I haven’t finished these edits yet and this matters.

I have been reading more books this year, both fiction and non fiction. Fictionwise I have been catching up on series like A Song of Ice and Fire, finally reading Silence of the Lambs and generally making friends with my local library once more.  My non fiction reading has focused more on the craft of storytelling, understanding why the stories I like work, and more importantly where my own storytelling is falling short.

Of the many books I read this year one hit home and made me re-evaluate my writing.  This book was Heinlein’s Rules: 5 Simple Business Rules for Writing by Dean Wesley Smith.  These rules are very simple but deceptively hard to master.

  1. You must write
  2. You must finish what you start
  3. You must refrain from rewriting except on editorial order.
  4. You must put it on the market
  5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

These rules make sense to me and I am trying my best to apply them in my writing. The simple fact is that although I have been focusing on my writing for over three years now I have yet to finish and publish a novel, until I do so I am not allowing myself to start a new project, however much I might want to.

However, although I am not going to be doing Nanowrimo in the tradtional sense I will be doing my own challenge.  I currently have 30 chapters to edit of Cleansing River, so I am going to be setting myself the target of a chapter a day this November. Then Cleansing River will be a massive step closer to being finished and published.