NaNoWriMo: An Ashamedly Late Update

While it wasn’t a secret to anyone, when it comes to this blog I did keep quiet on the fact that I participated in NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. I had planned to make this a sounding board for the stress and caffeine-fueled mania that comes with attempting to magic 50,000 words onto a page (or screen, rather), but I didn’t do that. Not because I didn’t have the time or the desire, nor was it due to the fact that last year’s attempt was a miserable bomb, but simply because, should I not make it to the end, I didn’t want my blog to be a testament to my failure. I think it manages to do that well enough on its own, k-thnx-bye.

But guess what, kids…I did it!

That’s right. On my second year trying, I actually crossed that finish line with 24 hours to spare. And none too soon, as motor functions were all my brain was able to manage by November 30th.

I called my story Bound, which is actually an idea I’ve had for years, but never took the time to sit down and write. Trying to explain it usually leaves people confused, so let’s just say it’s a gay sci-fi/horror/mystery. And the most miraculous part is that I don’t absolutely hate the final product. In fact, I’m pretty pleased with it, with a few exceptions. There are definitely some things I want to change or throw out completely, but that’s normal.

Along with this accomplishment I gained a new boldness. In the past, I never let anyone read any of my writing until I had slaved over editing it to the point where I felt less ashamed of it (I think I’ll always have a little bit of disgust with whatever craps out the back of my brain). But this time, before I even took the time to go back to dot the i’s and mind my q’s, p’s or any other consonants, I used the magic of Google Docs to upload the file and send sharing requests to some of my more trusted homo buddies. I figure, what better way to gauge the changes I need to make than to get instant feedback from my friends? And so far it’s working fairly well. I’ve targeted a few choice chapters that will soon get hacked to pieces, then reform bigger and better like those magic brooms that gave Mickey Mouse grief.

As a bit of a morale booster, my sexy friend and all-round awesome guy, Donn Kinney, created a cover art to put with my manuscript.

Any time I felt like I was on the verge of insanity, I would look at that and think “Well, if he can go to the trouble of doing that for me, I can at least finish this crappy thing.” Donn is an incredible artist who specializes in doll making. You can check out his work on deviantART and his online store, Bishonen House.

Without his help and the support of friends and my small, but amazing, local group of NaNoWriMo participants, I know I wouldn’t have accomplished it this year. I even bought myself a little memento.

And you know what? Looking back at it, I don’t know what I was so afraid of. Yes, writing 50,000+ words in a month is a strain on the creativity gland (yes, it’s real. It’s slightly uvula-esque. Go ahead, look it up), but the sense of satisfaction you get once it’s all over is worth taking the month of December to recuperate.

I’m actually looking forward to next November, not just because it could be the last NaNoWriMo before the zombie apocalypse, but because I’m hoping to do even better next time. I hope some of you will join me.

Check out NaNoWriMo.org for more information on how to participate and get involved with a local group.

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2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: An Ashamedly Late Update

  1. Congratulations, Josh! Don’t Let Me Go began as a NaNoWriMo novel. I felt the same way when I finished it–I did it! And it didn’t suck! It took a lot of work to whip it into shape, but I found an agent a year later, and a publisher five months after that. So believe in yourself. Edit that baby and get it out in the world. Then start writing your next bestseller! Oh, and I LOVE that cover. Major props to Donn.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I’m already plotting out my major edits and if nothing else I can e-publish it myself. I love the cover too! I actually squealed when he sent it to me. And I don’t squeal. My vocal chords just aren’t equipped for it. I couldn’t have hoped for better. I’ll be sure to send Donn the compliment.

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