Three weeks to NaNoWriMo 2013!

When Chris Baty and twenty-one San Francisco Bay area friends held the first National Novel Writing Month in 1999, I was preparing materials for a year teaching kindergarten in Colorado. Curriculum-writing, not fiction, was on my mind. 

But mountain lions, hiking, wild fires, white buffalo, and avalanche survival were part of my life in the Rockies. Someday, Fiction-writing, I would face you, armed with material. 

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, has been held every year since 1999. And for the last two years, I have written.

I’d love to say that I finished writing last year’s novel, sent it out, and instantly was rewarded with a contract. But I’d be lying. 

The truth is I did something equally important. Last year’s NaNoWriMo helped me break a bad habit. I once heard that the average number of revisions on a first paragraph is twenty-five. So I was about average, with twenty-five revisions of my opening paragraph. Except I had gotten into the habit of revising my first paragraph twenty-five times BEFORE writing my second paragraph. Which leaves a lot of second paragraphs never written. 

I had to replace my bad habit with a good habit.

NaNoWriMo helped me rediscover fluency – writing without stopping for correction edits and better idea revisions. NaNoWriMo helped me to WRITE; to get a wealth of material on actual pages. And some of it was really good material. It worked with Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen (interview).

This year’s goal: Fifty-thousand words in thirty days. THEN revision. Then submissions. Then a contract. 

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