Back in 2017, I wrote a short novel for NaNoWriMo called “Against the Night.” It was the first time I’d participated in the event, and I wanted to prove to myself I could write 50,000+ words in a month. I’d read a lot about the Pomodoro method and so-called “writing sprints”–that is, setting a timer and writing for fifteen to twenty minutes with the goal of putting as many words down as possible–but I’d never tried the method myself.
The ability to produce a large volume of words quickly is an invaluable skill for any commercial writer. I was hesitant to try for a very long time, mainly because I couldn’t bear to sacrifice quality for quantity. What I learned through the process was that while my sentences weren’t pretty, I was able to get the story down quickly, and in doing so, there was a more consistent tone and overall quality (though it wasn’t necessarily great) throughout.
I tried revising the novel shortly after finishing it, which turned out to be a major mistake. After writing almost 60,000 words in 30 days, I was a little burned out and couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I grew impatient and frustrated and shelved the book. I haven’t looked at the draft holistically in two years. I did workshop a few chapters from it a year or so ago, and the reception was relatively positive. I’ve since decided to revisit it, and I’ve started the process of rewriting, editing, and eventually polishing.
I plan to publish the novel later this year, likely some time the Fall, but maybe sooner if I’m able to get my act together. I still like this story, even though it needs some work, and I’m curious to give this whole independent publishing thing a serious go. The quality of ebooks has improved tremendously since I released my first short story collection back in 2011, and there are so many new tools (Scrivener, Vellum, etc.) that allow an indie to look just as slick and professional as traditional publishers.
I’ve got a lot of different projects planned or in process this year: writing one short story per month for Patreon, serializing some novellas on my blog, plotting a new series, and writing a short story for an anthology later this summer. I’ve found having several irons in the fire keeps things interesting, but it remains to be seen if I can sustain that pace through 2019. So far, it’s looking to be a productive year.
Watch this space…