NaNoWriMo is one of the few things in life I am truly ambivalent about. I see a lot of positives about the event, but the more I think about it, the less I want to have anything to do with it.
As I’ve been working my way through my summer reading list, I came to the realization that before I die, I want to write write a Star Wars novel. A real, licensed, fully authorized novel set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Last summer, I wrote a manuscript in around 35-40 days. My plans for this summer involved revising it and getting the first draft of a sequel written. However, I squandered May, and when June 1 rolled around, though, it was like the calendar jumped right off my wall and slapped me in the face. I realized that my time was limited, and that if I really intended to have a polished draft of the novel to beta readers by the end of summer, much less a drafted sequel, I had to really step it up.
Here’s the thing: you’ll probably never make a living by writing. Even if you luck into selling a manuscript, it’s unlikely that it will even pay your mortgage. No more amateur hour, no more kid gloves, and no more training wheels. (And no more motivational platitudes, am I right?) If you don’t treat writing like the job you want it to be right now, it will never happen.
After finishing my novel’s first draft, I learned a few things about writing fiction, and two of the most important are the importance of chapter length and just what “show, don’t tell” means.