New Writing Challenges

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love my writing group! Things have been getting slow lately, especially trying to recover from the summer, but starting October 20th we are starting a challenge. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, we will all set writing goals. Instead of working over just the month of November, we will have six weeks to accomplish a writing goal. It doesn’t have to be 50,000 words, but it needs to be something challenging.

Oh, have you never heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Writers from all over the world try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a crazy goal, one that I have to admit, I’ve never been able to achieve. Even when I don’t participate, November always seems to be filled with creative energy as I think about all the people around the world writing like mad. The few times I have participated have been fun, although I usually only made it to around 25,000 words.

Here’s the main reason why our writing challenge excites me: there is a good chance that if I set a goal ambitious enough, I will finish the rough draft of my novel by December 1st. I will keep everyone informed of my progress, both here and on Twitter. This is the first time that I’ve ever been close to finishing a writing project. The idea of actually going through and revising this thing is both exciting and terrifying – I’ve never had anything to revise before! But I have the support of my writing group, and lots of notes from where they’ve critiqued my work, not to mention family and friends who are willing to give me a good swift kick if I start slowing down and doubting myself.

I will spend the time between now and the 20th trying to plan out the rest of the story. I know where it’s going, but need to list out the individual scenes. I’m not a big outliner – I never have had the entire thing planned out from beginning to end. Since finding John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story, I have a much better procedure for writing, but I have found that outlining a bit, then writing that bit, then outlining a bit more works better than trying to outline the entire thing.

So now all I have to do is prepare for October 20th. I can’t wait!

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