I promise I'll post more within an hour or so, but I am seriously starving (you'll find out why soon!), so I'm going to feed myself, then give you all the fun details. I just wanted to share!
(About an hour later...)
OK, now that I'm fed (thank you, Chick-fil-A, for supplying my victory dinner), I can tell you all about what I learned and how amazing this whole process was. But since my husband has missed me most dearly in the last month, and is currently waiting for me in the other room, with a blanket, a movie, and the world's most adorable dogs, I'm going to condense everything I've learned into an easy-to-digest list form (with visuals!)
Heather's List o'Awesome NaNo Lessons, 2009
3. Knowing where you're going is half the battle. Since the idea for my novel came so close to the start of November, I didn't get to outline much before it started. I really only had time for the basic world building elements, character ideas, and first few chapters...maybe the first 10,000 words? I wrote the first 10,000 words in about 3 days, then took another 10 to write the next 10,000. Say, I wonder if another look at those charts would help demonstrate things...
4. Having a support system is extremely important. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the women in my book club who did NaNo along with me, and everyone from my local group, especially those who came out to the write-ins I attended. Also everyone who reads this blog, because you people are awesome.
5. Sacrifices have to happen. I typically read somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 books a month, give or take. Last month, I read four, and two of them were books on tape so I feel like they shouldn't count, plus one of them I had already started when November kicked off. But I knew that, throughout the month, writing was more important than reading. (Even though reading is extremely important for a writer, too, and don't you forget it.)
6. When in doubt, write. Even if it's terrible and you
7. A working title is just that...working. I always knew I would part with my title, but tonight I decided for sure. It's got to go. I even posted a new working title on NaNo, but since I'm sure it won't stick for long, I'm not going to share it here. Once I have something I feel confident about, I'll post it. And then I'll post it again once I have to change it for my agent/publisher's fancy.
8. It's not over til the fat lady sings. Which in publishing is when I see my book for sale. That means, even though I won the NaNo battle, I still have to fight the novel war. I need to finish the book, then revise, revise again, revise a third time, cry myself to sleep every night, let some other people read it to get some opinions, wonder why my manuscript is bleeding (oh, wait, that's just red ink because the draft is so awful), fix all the mistakes, revisereviserevise, add some more steps I'm sure I haven't thought about yet, then send it off to all my favorite agents and watch as the rejections come pouring in. But it only takes one yes (well, a series of yeses, but let's not get picky) to get published.
Hope everyone else had a great NaNo!