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Advice up at NaNoWriMo

Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, emailed me last week and asked me to give my advice for the "I Wrote a Novel, Now What?" section of the NaNoWriMo Website.

My advice is up!

Here's what I said:

Up next, Jessica Burkhart. Twenty-one year old Jessica Burkhart’s debut middle-grade novel, Take the Reins, her 2006 NaNoNovel, hits stores in January 2009 from Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin MIX. When asked the same time travel question as S.A. Boodeen, Jessica responded:

I’d advise myself not to panic on December first and think, “Oh, no! This is not a perfect draft that’s ready to be sent to an agent this instant! I’ve failed NaNo!” Umm, no. The goal of NaNoWriMo was NOT to write a perfectly polished in 30 days. The objective was to draft a novel in a month. I did that. I’ve got 50,000-words that might not be poetic or dazzling, but there is a draft that’s ready for editing.

I’d remind myself of one of my favorite sayings—“You can’t edit a blank page.” I’d tell myself to celebrate the fact that I have a draft and that it’s okay to take a few days off before plunging ahead to editing. Let the manuscript breathe. It'll still be there next week.

Finally, I’d encourage myself not to be disheartened by the people who would eventually tell me, “There’s no way a book written in 30 days will ever be published!” C’mon, we all know that’s not true. I’d tell myself to direct those people to the roster of published NaNo authors. It’s an encouraging list!

Thanks, Chris! See you all in November 2009!


Melissa said…
I love this advice. I think seeing a published writer participate in NaNoWriMo -- with the intention of revising and eventually publishing the result -- is a great inspiration for aspiring writers.

A lot of my friends on participated in NaNoWriMo. I'm mostly editing these days, so I didn't write a novel in a month, but I'm working on a guide to revising a novel for NaNoWriMo'ers and others facing a messy first draft. Some of my advice is similar to yours -- and I'll be adding to it a bunch in the days to come.

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