Looking Back on NaNo

20170324_175156Only about 20 days until my goal to have my “Beta Test Ready” novel draft complete.  Luckily, I only have a few more chapters to look at and then some survey questions to write for my readers.  Also luckily, I don’t have many obligations this week, so hopefully I’ll be able to just sit down and fix these last two chapters and get stuff done!

This stage of my novel has gotten me thinking about actually writing it in the first place.  I am getting to the point where I am still running across first draft notes in the middle of paragraphs about how much I need coffee and that kind of thing, as well as a few anecdotes I stuck at the end, hoping I could find a place for them in the grand scheme of the novel.  Of course, I have to cut almost all of it, but reading through it is just so entertaining.  And not only that, but even though I’ve only been working on this novel for about six months, I already feel nostalgic looking back on that first draft.

It has been such a cool experience to watch this novel change and grow and improve over time, and also seeing my own growth as a person and as a writer since I have been dedicated to this story and these characters.  I found something in the middle of one of my first-draft life rants that was, while written in a caffeine-induced, perhaps slightly sleep-deprived, stressful time during the week before finals last semester, was oddly inspiring to the slightly more grown up me of today:

“Writing is not something you either have the ability or you don’t.  No one starts out with the ability to write well.  Some may have more talent than others, but that has nothing to do with ability or work ethic or success.  The only way a writer can gain the ability to write is by writing.  It’s that simple.”

I feel like I have written and said this so many times, but I am so glad I reminded myself of it today.  In my preparations for other people to read my heart-child, I need to remember that it is not perfect, but that is okay.  I’m glad I can hear this encouragement from myself, because somehow, that makes it all the more encouraging, that even in the very very early stages of drafting, I had hope for this story.  I had dreams of what this novel would become, and in that moment of writing that insight, I would be so proud of how far I have come.

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