Since throwing myself into the fray of independent publishing, I've learned that I'm doing a lot of things incorrectly. A LOT.
Like most things these days, there are Accepted Standards of Best Practice. Things like: hire a professional editor, have your book covers professionally designed, only write in series, pay for advertising.....the list goes on.
The fact I wrote a trilogy first was entirely happenstance. Other than that happy accident, I can't tick off any boxes from that list. I find it hard to justify the [not small] expense of professional anything for my writing just now -- it would be fiscally ludicrous, to be honest.
But that's okay.
Some day, I'll have a cover budget and an editing budget and a marketing budget. There might even be a spreadsheet or two involved.
Spreadsheets make me nervous.
Waiting to have all of those things would be like waiting for one of the Big Five to pick me. It would be like waiting until everything was tickety-boo and perfect and In Order before I began.
I used to wait.
But I'm not waiting anymore.
Because without the writing, the other stuff is meaningless.
As I type this, I'm at 20,705 words for the month. It's not all fabulous, but nor is it utter shite, either. I may not make 50,000 words by the end of the month - obviously I'm short of being "half" done - but most of what I've written will end up as a published book by [hopefully] mid-December. It's a pretty 'clean' first draft.
I've often struggled with the notion of NaNoWriMo -- I struggle with the idea of churning out 50,000 words of complete rubbish just to satisfy a word-count.
I don't write that way. I edit, ponder and noodle as I go. It irks me to know that there's something that needs fixing - so I fix it. Damn the shitty first draft rules and all that. :) I'd rather write slightly more 'slowly' than have a giant mess to unravel when it comes time to edit.
Only yesterday, I shifted my POV to first-person and it unstuck me. Where I'd been dreading facing the manuscript because Something Wasn't Right, now the flood-gates have opened and it's tripping merrily along. Obviously, I'll have to go back and change the entire first half but I couldn't not make the shift in the interest of not editing simply because the sole point of NaNoWriMo is to produce 50,000 words.
Challenges like NaNoWriMo are good. But only insofar as they support my personal journey. Once they stop doing that, I'm giving myself permission to go my own way.
Because breaking the rules is something at which I clearly excel.
It's not just a case of chronic contrariness [okay, maybe it looks that way], it's just that I can't follow a rule that doesn't make sense to me.
The point of the exercise - for me - is to establish a writing practice. To get my backside in the chair, every day - even if it only means 200 words or that I'm doodling in the margins of my notebook.
That's the sort of commitment that will have me writing well past the end of November, whether I reach 50,000 words or not.
Although, it doesn't mean I'm not going to try.