How #NaNoWriMo Changed My Life

October 27, 2015

What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? According to the website...
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
There is no penalty for not making that deadline. There isn't a prize for making it, either. The value of NaNoWriMo, in my experience, is being part of an online (and IRL) community of like-minded folks who cheer each other on, publicly track our word counts, and celebrate our milestones. It is a truly nonjudgmental environment and the perfect place for a beginning novelist to take the leap.

I participated in my first NaNo in 2012. Since then, I've completed three NaNoWriMos and two Camp NaNoWriMos (the July and April versions).

In the course of those thousands and thousands of words, something strange happened. I fell in love with novel writing. I started to do it outside of the context of NaNo. I became curious about the craft and the industry. I took my NaNo manuscripts, whittled away the madness, and assembled novels from the remaining raw material.

I got good advice and joined communities of professional writers who taught me how to revise, pitch, and query. In January of 2015, I signed my first book deal. More contracts followed.

Now I find myself, three years after that first NaNo, with a completely different career. I am, improbably, a romance novelist. This is my full time job. I work from home.

Seeing those words on the screen still makes me giddy with disbelief.

Next month, my first full-length novel will be released from The Wild Rose Press. The erotic romance Deep Down was my manuscript for Camp NaNoWriMo in July 2013. I wrote 75,000 words that month and didn't stop until I had 120,000. I rewrote the manuscript twice before I finally sold it in February 2015. The final version has been worked over by a talented editor and copy editor and now clocks in at a lean-and-mean 89,000 words. It releases on Nov. 20, 2015. I'm thrilled.

For more information, click here.
If you know you have a novel inside you, if you know in your heart that you have a story to tell, check out NaNoWriMo and give it a shot. And add me...I'm @onebravetaco. Let's cheer each other on!

For help with revising your NaNoWriMo manuscript at the end of November, please click here.  For the almighty NaNoWriMo character questionnaire, excellent for planning out your protagonists and supporting characters, please click here.  For my lovely NaNoWrimo newbie toolkit, please click here.


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