It’s like we realized November is National Novel Writing Month when we chose this month’s topic. Huh.
To me this is an extension of last month’s topic of Career vs Hobby. One of the most difficult aspects of being an author – of it being a career vs it being your hobby – is that you finish the dang book. How many people have partial books on their hard drive? A LOT. Even career authors have partial books; a.k.a. works in progress, or WIPs. But a career author makes a habit of finishing them.
There is an abandon point in every book. For me it is usually somewhere in the middle. Usually near the end of the middle. Middles are really hard. In my mind, they feel like I’m trudging waist deep through a thick bog. Peat is gathering around my legs and hips making the progress more and more difficult and finally I have to think, This book so being so difficult. Is this worth it? That’s where you either abandon the book because you can’t see a way to the end, and you stay a hobbyist. Or you push and push and push through until you break free and can finally craft the end of the book. The first time you do that is when you become a career author. Even if you aren’t published yet. Finishing that book is really difficult.
There are other circumstances that make finishing the book difficult. Raising children, work, family commitments, obstinate computers, walking the dog, a new season of Flash on Netflix, reading all the other great books out there…that’s where things like NaNoWriMo come in. The first time I did NaNo – 2008, I think – I chose to do it because I was a wife, mother of four school aged children, working part-time and finding it very difficult to sit down and write. I thought if I participated in NaNo, it would force the discipline. It did! It was such a painful process for me. The novel was an absolute mess, but I finished it. And guess what? Five years later that NaNo novel – King of Bad – was published. Plus the torture of that month of writing was always the incentive to keep the discipline so that I would never have to do NaNo again!
But then I hit a writing slump. After publishing 12 books, I was disillusioned by the business of being a published author and stopped writing for over a year! I needed to step back, find the love again. By the time NaNo came around last year I was ready to jump back in with both feet. I sat down and wrote a novel. Luckily for me I was a far more seasoned novelist and the NaNo experience wasn’t nearly as painful. Since that novel was shorter than the 50k words you need to ‘win’ NaNo, I worked on another one to make up the remaining word count. Not only did I find my writing stride again (I’ve since finished two more books and published one of them) but last year’s NaNo book will be published on November 22nd! It’s a book for the grown ups among us under my other pen name, LA Dragoni. You can pre-order it now. The links are on my website. It’s a fun, fun book for those of you who like a slightly sexy time travel romance.
Anyway, the point of this rambling isn’t to brag, but to demonstrate why finishing that book is key to building an author career vs being a hobbyist.
And the only way to do it is to push through the hard stuff. Just get something down. Butt in chair. Cruddy first drafts. Name your cliché. The point is, you can’t improve your story without that first draft, so even if you know it’s just the skeleton of a scene –get it down! Finish that book.
#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.