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I finished my novel and am a NaNoWriMo winner for the second time.

Yes, the novel is a first draft. It needs work, editing, rewriting and a couple other pairs of eyes looking it over. In a few weeks, I plan to read through it and do some rewriting. For now, it is a pile of 257 pages of double-spaced manuscript formatted output sitting on my desk.

Yeah, I printed it out. I did last year, too. Both are on my desk. If nothing else, these first drafts are reminders that, yes, I can! I can write a complete novel in a month. I didn’t write the Great American Novel. Heck, it probably isn’t a good novel, but it is 50,000-plus words and more than 250 pages and I wrote it.

If you participated in NaNoWriMo, good for you. If you won, great! What matters is that you tried. A number of my friends and “writing buddies” tried, but didn’t make it to 50,000 words for various reasons. Others, I’m aware of, posted almost 500,000 words. It is important how much you wrote, but more important that you wrote.

This year’s novel is a sequel to last year’s, and I did a lot of preparation and planning for this one. There will be no third, no trilogy. I found out that I need to write a third. I hope I have a good idea for that one. While trying to write 50,000 words in a month is a challenge, it can be fun. The first novel was a lot of fun to write. This one was tougher, because it had a more structured plot. I couldn’t just throw anything at the characters as they moved through the story this time. Things had to happen in a more structured sequence.

It was tough, yes, and I almost gave up after the first week. If you look at my stats chart below, you’ll see I fell behind on my word count after the first week (I blame that on a couple of travel days. Yeah, that’s the ticket). Falling behind that early makes it tough, because you have to work harder than ever to get ahead. I finally did about three weeks in. I stayed ahead and was able to finish on November 27.

No Longer Available

What that chart should tell you is it takes some discipline and perseverance to get to the goal. Write every day and do not stop writing. Don’t stop to edit, rewrite or anything. If you keep writing, you will complete the project. Get the story written. When you finish the project, then you can edit, rewrite and polish.

Keep writing.

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