If you participated in National Novel Writing Month this year, I have a message for you...
Over three hundred thousand people participated in this year's event, and a huge number completed 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. For any writer that's quite an achievement. Many of us have produced an early draft of a complete novel. Not everyone completed 50,000 words, but everybody who wrote anything managed something they may not have achieved without NaNoWriMo. That's a win whatever the word count.
As always there has been no shortage of people in the mainstream media who criticise NaNoWriMo participants for doing something they consider worthless and annoying. I have a simple answer to those people. Try it some time and you'll find out that you're wrong.
Much of the criticism is based on a complete misunderstanding of what NaNoWriMo is all about. It's not about publishing, and it's not about getting an agent. It's about being inspired to write. Those of us who participate do so because we love to write, and NaNoWriMo is probably the most inspirational event that exists for people like us. We get together, we encourage each-other, we chivvy each-other along and we make wonderful new friends. Oh, and just to set the record straight with the critics, many participants have no interest in getting their work published. They write for the love of it, as we all do.
The nay sayers seem to think we want to write a complete, awesome and publishable novel in one month. Few people are capable of such a feat and I've never yet met a NaNoWriMo author who believes they can do that. We all know we'll have to work on edits and re-writes, but pretty much every professional author on the planet does that anyway.
Enough about the misguided critics. I was in the middle of congratulating you.
Now that we've got all this writing we produced during November we have to decide what to do with it.
In my case that's simple. You see, I'm a strange and unusual person. I like editing my work. I love to go back over my writing and make it better. I fix plot problems, deepen my characters, improve the quality of the writing. I begin with a manuscript that contains the bones of my story and with every editing pass through it I get to improve on what I started with. How could I not enjoy that!
Whatever your plans for your NaNoWriMo manuscript you are awesome. You've created something new, and the creative soul inside you has been fed.
Every year hundreds of thousands of people find renewed inspiration in their writing by participating in National Novel Writing Month. If you haven't dipped your toe in yet, there's always next year...