Monday, October 25, 2010

Go for it!

Whoa, golly. It's almost November.

I've been meaning to post this blog entry for awhile, but I've been busy. I have been revising, editing, combing through, grooming, foof-ing, polishing, primping and preening my current WORK IN PROGRESS (otherwise known as WIP). And as a result, I am happy to say it is no longer a WIP. It is now a "submission." Yes, I happily sent the darned thing off for some professional review. I offered it up to an editor and some agents in hopes that one of them will love it so much they will want to take it home with them, in a manner of speaking. Once a manuscript is submitted, it's best left in a drawer until agents and editors have responded to queries. They may have feedback for the writer, and they usually aren't happy if changes have been made before their feedback is received. So, my WIP is now resting peacefully, waiting for feedback.

What should I do now? I have nothing on my writing agenda, but a million things to work on.

One of the many glorious perks of the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts is that I was always encouraged to try something new, to branch out and dabble in different genres. I left the program with many WIPs--picture books, middle grade ghost stories, YA drama, middle grade fantasy... each one has special memories of friends who critiqued it in workshops or faculty members who coached me through revisions. I couldn't decide which to work on first, so I decided to start something new.

Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? It's the National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November. Check it out: You sign up, and then, basically, you write 50,000 in a month. And at the end of the month, if you've reached that 50,000 word mark, you win! No prizes or anything, but you have the bones of a new novel. (No guarantees you'll be done your story by that point, but you will have achieved a solid start as well as the daily habit of sitting down ("butt in chair!") and writing. Without showing up every day to work on your story, it's hard to get through. NaNoWriMo is designed to help you start the writing habit. I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove and writing a novel.

What do you really need if you want to be a writer? You need to write. That's it. You need to sit down and put words onto paper (or into your word processor, if you're being technical about it).

There's even a NaNoWriMo for kids--the Young Writers Program. ( It's fantastic. There's a dare machine that dares writers to do different things with their stories (such as adding a three-headed puppy and a phony watch salesman). There are "pep talkers," challenges, and even competitions between friends. Most of all, there's loads of help for kids who really want to be writers.

What are you waiting for? NaNoWriMo is almost here. Get onboard. It's time to write your novel!


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