My third NaNoWriMo (30 days to write 50,000 words) is over and I did it – a new novel is born. The 2014 National Novel Writing Month has been my least painful writing challenge (since I still have all my hair).
Now I must return to completing my first novel, which was the product of the 2012 challenge. On the verge of self-publishing, I’ve re-worked that first draft for the past two years, and I’m nearly done.
- Editing (97.8%)
- Formatting (97.2%)
- Front cover image (one more colour adjustment) (99.6%)
- Back cover blurb (98.77%)
- Ready to give it to the world? (67.3%)
Almost. Not quite. The moment of doubt rears its gnarly head. What if no one reads it? What if someone reads it and hates it? What if someone reads it and likes it? Those are the ‘what ifs’ that haunt me.
I have to put it out there or else I can’t move on.
NanoWriMo has helped me prove to myself that I am capable of completing a strange creative process that scares, thrills, bores and like a vacuum sucks every word, past experience and idea that I have ever had and blasts it onto a page. A purge of creativity that is exhausting, arduous and stimulating.
But after the initial thrill of getting the words out, the hard work of making them readable begins.
Scribbled on a file card, tucked beside my computer, is a quote by Samuel Johnson:
What is written without effort is usually read without pleasure.
I look at that quote and continue honing my final draft. I know I haven’t expended enough effort because the sentences don’t quite flow. Almost lost in my own story – a few rough edges, but I hope to have them as smooth as a shot of Don Julio Tequila.
When someone invests a significant amount of time and concentrated energy to read a book, it should be worth reading. If not, it’ll never be finished and the characters will forever be stuck on the pages, never to be heard from again.
I like my characters too much to let that happen.