I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Long is a Piece of String?

Well, I signed up to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) today - my first time. I'm quite excited about it and looking forward to a busy November. Do you plan to take part?

I suppose that raises the question of how long it usually takes to finish a manuscript. The answer: How long is a piece of string? Pretty darn (tee hee) long!

I've looked at the details of the winners' circle at NaNoWriMo, and tens of thousands of people last year managed to complete the designated 50,000 words within the 30 day time frame. At 1,700 words per day (or so), that's not a bad achievement at all. But...

I'd be very surprised if the NaNoWriMo attendees can turn around in the month of December and immediately send out the manuscript seeking representation. I am imagining that, after I take part in NaNoWriMo, it will then take me a good few months after that to read, edit, re-read, re-edit, re-edit again, then submit to beta readers, and - you guessed it - re-edit, that manuscript. At least.

In other words, while it may be possible to get the words down on paper fairly quickly, it takes much longer to make sure those words are polished to a point where you feel confident with submitting them to agents/editors. And some of us - me included - struggle even to get the words down on paper to start with (procrastination anyone?).

Thus, my hope that NaNoWriMo will be a fantastically useful tool in my (ongoing) battle to put pen to paper. So...I'll keep you posted on how long it takes to write, polish, and complete my NaNoWriMo manuscript. Time to dust off the plots I put on the shelf for a later date. An interesting experiment - anyone want to race???

No cheating though...

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