Writing my NaNoWriMo novel has really made me excited about writing again. I forgot how much I loved to just write fiction, since my fiction work has definitely taken a back-burner to my job and freelance writing. But my novel - no matter how bad it is in it's first-draft form - has gotten me excited about writing again, and I can't even explain how great that feels.
So great, in fact, that I've started looking up contests, workshops, and places where I can submit stories to. There are two that I'm really looking forward to: one is the Writers in Paradise workshop with DENNIS LEHANE (insert freak-out if I get in here), and the other is the YA Novel Discovery Contest. The second only required the first 250 words of your novel. I feel pretty good about the beginning of my novel, so I cleaned it up a bit and went ahead and entered. The winners aren't announced until February, but the prizes are insanely awesome - the top six entrants get a pitch phone call with a literary agent! Did I enter too hastily? Maybe. Maybe I should have taken more time. But I have been thinking about the beginning of my novel for awhile, and I just feel good about it. Plus, if you don't enter, you can't win.
The Writers in Paradise workshop is trickier. They want the first 25 pages of a manuscript by December 25. Of course, by now I have much more than 25 pages (since they want it to be double-spaced), but the problem is that my stuff is totally unedited, untouched, and unfit for any eyes - including my own. But if I get into the workshop, I would get amazing feedback from some incredibly talented best-selling authors, plus a bunch of other amateur writers like me. I've read the WIP alumni blog, and the people that go to the workshop go on to do incredible things. I might not get in. I might be kidding myself. The people who read my entry might gouge their eyes out with forks and run screaming in the other direction. But, if I don't try to get in, I'll never know. I have some wonderful women from my book club (who are also doing NaNo with me - they have been a HUGE support system to me, and have really kept me going) who've volunteered to read my pages and give me great, honest feedback. Since I've never met these women, and if I ever do it won't be for several months, at least, I feel like the risk of utter, life-shattering humiliation is seriously lower than it would be if I let people that I had to see every day read it. So I'm going to spend some time editing tomorrow, send the copies out for feedback over the weekend, and hopefully have my application out by the end of next week!
And, here is the part of the blog where I admit failure. My original goal during NaNo was to write something, anything, even if it was only one sentence, every single day. But yesterday I didn't manage that. I got home at 6, fell asleep, drove to Katey's for The Office, came home, and went to bed. But don't worry; this isn't going to turn into Run Like a Girl. I'm already way ahead of schedule (11,436 words). I just needed one night off to rest my metacarpals, let my brain think about plots, and get some sleep. Today, I am more excited than ever to get writing again! Plus, I'm going to a write-in on Sunday, which means I'll be going somewhere with a bunch of other NaNo participants, writing, bragging about our word counts, and drinking coffee in front of our laptops like we're too cool for life. Nerdy or totally awesome? I'll let myself be the judge of that, and I pick...