Pleased to say I have sold a drabble (a story told in exactly 100 words) to Martian Magazine. This was a fun little thing to do and I look forward to seeing it published there.
If you are so inclined, you can help to fund Martian through its current indiegogo campaign. This will not affect whether or not my story is published, but might affect how many more stories Martian is able to buy and how quickly they are published.
EDIT: Martian Magazine is no longer publishing new work, and will not now be publishing my drabble.
I’m unable to take part in NaNoWriMo this year, but now seems like a good time to reflect on taking part last year.
First and foremost, NaNoWriMo is about getting words down. It’s about getting used to writing every day. Sitting in the chair and doing it. Inevitably that might mean the words aren’t as good as you would hope for, and the story is not as coherent as you would wish. That’s ok. There are limits to what you can do in a month. But the main goal is to write 50K words and that’s the one thing you shouldn’t compromise on.
At the same time, I do not believe it is a good thing to write 50K words of utter crap. You can aim higher than that. You can try to push the idea in a more exciting direction every day. You can try to discover a story that you can someday stand behind and publish.
Every time you write something you learn new things about what makes a story work or not work. You learn about your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and see where you can improve. Most importantly you learn that you can do it. Self-doubt falls away, because you are, in fact, writing a story, and not just thinking about it.
What then if you fail? You might find that 50K words is actually too difficult for you, or that life intervenes in some way you could never have anticipated. Well, as soon as you’ve written one sentence, as soon as you’ve made a start, then you’ve succeeded to some extent. The glass really is half full with NaNoWriMo, or any other kind of actual writing. Actual writing always takes you forward. Even if you later scrap it and write something better.
But try to hit that 50K target. Have a plan. Write 1700 words every day. Or write less on weekdays but more on weekends. Track your progress. Know whether you’re ahead or falling behind. If you’re ahead keep going. Maybe even edit a little. Or think about how you would pitch this story to a publisher. What would make it stronger? If you’re behind, can you somehow devote more hours per day to the task? Or are you being too self-critical, too much of a perfectionist? This is a first draft, not a final manuscript.
Oh now I am wishing I had time for NaNoWriMo 2017. I don’t but I do have other goals for November. Best of luck to you if you’re giving it a go. Give it your best shot.