Since I started doing NaNoWriMo in 2016, I have participated in every single WriMo challenge, including the camps in April and July, up until last November. I got to the point in my novel where I didn’t find the fast-paced, get-your-words-down-at-all-cost objective of NaNoWriMo helpful anymore.
That’s still true this time around, so I’m a little sad to say that I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Even though my participation spanned less than two years, it still feels odd not to be gearing up for it. I remember how I used to prepare all of my notes and outlines just in time for the challenges, and studiously keeping up with my word counts when it was time to crunch them. In some ways, even though they were exhausting, I miss those months. It gave me something to focus on outside of work, and my consistent progress made me feel very productive.
Now I’m working on my sixth draft of The Malicious Wind. I’ve submitted the previous draft to an editor, and the revisions I need to make are highly targeted to certain areas. So the 50,000 word goal just doesn’t make sense. I started writing draft 6 halfway through October, and I’m only on chapter 6. That means I’ve taken an average of 3 days to edit a single chapter. (For reference, each chapter is below 3K words, so if I were doing NaNoWriMo, I would already be very much behind.)
I’m hoping to finish draft 6 by the end of this year. Early next year, I will submit it for copy-editing, and perhaps another round of beta-reading. Once I get feedback from those, I will write the final draft.
Yup, that’s it. I’ve decided that I will stop after that.
A part of me feels like perhaps I should work on it more, especially because this is my first original novel I intend to share with the world. But another part of me feels like I’ve reached the point of diminishing returns.
When I was still in school, I had a (very wise) friend who told me of a story or proverb about two novice potters. One of them spent an entire month making one pot, trying to get it to be as beautiful as he could. The other one spent one day each month making a different pot, with improvements on the one he made the previous day. In the end, on that final day, both their pots were just as beautiful as each other’s.
I mean, okay, perhaps this story cannot be applied to everything. Perhaps not even writing a novel. But I do feel that because I’ve been working on The Malicious Wind for close to four years, I have squeezed as much learning experience as I have from this novel. Maybe it’s time to move on to the next, to hone my craft on a different project. Goodness knows I have so many ideas lined up. I will try not to worry if TWM is not the best story out there. First novels rarely are.
I’m still not sure how I will publish this novel. At this point, I’m really just thinking of posting it on Wattpad, or building my own site to house it. It would be nice to eventually monetize my writing, but my goal right now is to just share it with people. Which is hard, because I have very little marketing skills. And lately, I’ve even been lamenting my art skills too, which I’m increasingly afraid aren’t enough to attract people to my work. (I’ve just seen a lot of poorly designed covers recently, and I just thought, “There are authors out there who think these are good covers. What if the design and artwork I feel are good actually…aren’t?”) So I’ve just been experiencing a lot of self-doubt. Even if I’m taking an unusual publication route, I do want my story to appear professional.