Health setbacks happen, but Nanowrimo awaits!

Okay, so you would have seen me on the first of October if I hadn’t gotten very sick.

I can fight off  (pretend I’m okay through) a flare-up of fibromyalgia, or I can fight off a nasty sinus infection.  What I cannot do without a lot of extra rest is manage to fight off both.  Not that I’m excusing myself for not writing, but there will be times where I don’t have the energy to even type.  Being in constant pain wears a girl out.

But on to less personal stuff, and more writing-related stuff!

I went ahead and submitted last-minute to the Writers of the Future contest for their final quarter.   It’s a very well-established contest in the science fiction and fantasy community, with a nice prize.  I can’t deny the money would be nice, but right now I’m more concerned with recognition.   I entered the same story that I submitted to Sword and Sorceress earlier this year, with a little more polish.  The confirmation e-mail I was sent suggests that I won’t know if I’ve won or not until December at the earliest.   Time to play the waiting game!

But I don’t intend to be idle.  I’m already working on another story to submit for next quarter, working on another story for Sword and Sorceress’ reading period next spring, and trying to get three different series of novels into coherent, workable outlines.

And of course, there are only three weeks until NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love doing it.  I love the rush that comes from putting together the better part of a novel within thirty days.   I hate that it happens during November along with everything else.  I hate the frustrations that come with pushing yourself so hard and so fast in your writing.  I hate it when I get stuck, even when I want to do well.

But whether or not I love it or hate it, NaNo has been an educational experience for me for the last eight years.  I’ve learned that when I have a workable outline, it really is possible to write more than the 50,000 words required to win, and even to finish an entire novel.  I’ve learned that sometimes it’s very difficult to sit down and make yourself do the work because there are other things you would rather be doing.  I’ve learned that giving myself deadlines helps put a little edge of pressure on myself that increases my performance.   Doing NaNoWriMo for eight years has taught me how to be a better pre-writer, and while it doesn’t necessarily help the quality of my work, it does help me remember and practice the habits that it will take to make it in the very competitive world of professional noveling.

It also reminds me that it’s okay to have a bad rough draft.  I’m such a perfectionist that sometimes I won’t write because I know I can’t do the idea justice on the first try.  I keep forgetting that good writing is a process.  Not a magic product  that shows up with a wave of the wand on the first try.  Nano lets me let go of the stupid inner editor and write for the sake of writing.  Some very interesting things happen when I let myself go that way.

I’m still quite pleased with my 2009 effort.  I had a solid outline, a good idea, the right music, and a great support group.   In contrast, 2010 and 2011 were miserable failures.  No solid ideas, no outlines, and worst of all, no time whatsoever because of school.   I’m looking forward to having the time to write this year.   Now if I could hurry up and settle on a good idea….

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