I have mentioned, in varying levels of detail, that this year holds some unusual challenges for me and that my life will be fairly chaotic in the coming months. What I did not predict, however, is that I would have my attention pulled away so significantly by health concerns. I did not particularly need a reminder that health and fitness are important, but events in the past few weeks have certainly served to underscore that. Luckily, and I can be truly thankful for this, nothing has been particularly serious. The incidents that have cropped up in the past month have been just disruptive enough to make me more wary of larger problems, as well as the need to proactively take better care of myself. I am sharing this on my blog not to simply talk about myself, though. I am mentioning it here to encourage other writers (and everyone, really) to also take a moment to consider what they are doing to stay healthy and fit.
There are quite a few things that I could write about this week for my writing blog. I'm sure that if I tried hard enough, I could somehow work in a political message following the inauguration of President Trump, but I will leave that for others. I am somewhat tempted to address the issue of writing for the purpose of entertaining a large audience versus writing for literary art, but at least for now I will leave that for others also. For this blog post, I will focus on two recent milestones that I celebrated this past week.
One reason to celebrate was that I finished another novel first draft. This was the novel that I began in November for NaNoWriMo, and although I had hoped to finish it earlier, finishing it in about two-and-a-half months is substantially faster than spending years on manuscripts, which I've also done. My "worst" writing time has yet to be determined, because I started a novel in January 1985 and I have not yet finished it. I treat that as sort of a joke, although I do have plans to finish it eventually. This week, though, I was just glad to get to the end of the first draft of this much more recent project.
Would it be trite to use my last blog post of the year to do a year-end summary, or to talk about my goals for the coming year? Perhaps, but I'm going to do it anyway. :-) I will talk about my goals for 2017 first, because that is the easiest: There are none! With as many changes and disruptions as I can expect in my personal life in the next six to eight months, any goals would likely need to be set aside anyway. I do intend to keep writing and publishing, but that is more about my general intent than actual goal-setting.
It's Thanksgiving here in the United States, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank other writers who have helped me over the years and especially in the past year. While none of them can perform magic to make my older writing projects perform better in the marketplace, in various ways they have helped me press on with new projects that I hope will reach much larger audiences. Some, like Emily, have known me for many years, while others, such as Lynn, are more recent acquaintances. The help I have received from other writers has ranged from moral support to technical information to market understanding, and I am thankful to them all for giving me the confidence to continue writing with the hope of achieving commercial success as well as artistic expression.
As I write this, people around the world are preparing to embark on a literary journey, many for the first time. Like me, they have hopes of writing a novel in November as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, although it's definitely international now). The challenge of being a "WriMo" is to craft at least 50,000 words in a new novel during November. Not starting ten minutes before, not finishing half an hour past... but writing at least 50,000 words in November. Thirty days, at around 1700 words a day. Easy? For some, maybe. For many, it's a challenge to fit that amount of writing in amongst daily non-writing demands.
In this blog post, I will share some information about the path I have taken multiple times, a path that will take you from being a NaNoWriMo novelist to having your book for sale on Amazon (and other retailers) for people around the world to read and enjoy. But don't get me wrong. I'm not going to tell you how to win awards, or become rich and famous, or write something that will endure for centuries. Those are paths I have not walked (yet) with my books, so what value would there be in my advice on those matters? None, to be sure. But as for the mechanics of it all... completing the book and seeing it available for sale to friends, family, and complete strangers? That I have done, and that I can walk you through. While this blog post won't hit every detail, it will give you an idea of what lies ahead. Interested? Read on!