It’s December, and you all know what that means:
- Millions of Americans are frantically packing the malls, trying desperately to find the perfect gift for their family and friends who functionally have everything.
- You can’t go out in public without hearing Christmas music. By now, almost a week into December, you have to take Prozac just to keep from barfing when Mannheim Steamroller plays Winter Wonderland for the 17th time today.
- There’s a chance you won’t be comfortable going outside in shorts and a T-shirt, even in Texas (today, for example)
But none of that is what I’m talking about, actually. No lecture on the true meaning of Christmas. I seldom venture into malls and so far, I’ve not heard ONE SINGLE CHRISTMAS SONG! So my Prozac consumption is under control.
What I was saying is that it’s December, and that means that (drum roll, please):
THERE ARE 42,008 NEW NOVELS WRITTEN DURING NANOWRIMO.
The counter on the Official NaNoWriMo Site tells us that 312,843 people signed up with the intention of writing a novel of at least 50,000 words. 42,008, or 13% of them, ACTUALLY DID IT!
Congratulations to all of you, those who completed your novel and those who didn’t but gave it your best shot and plan to try again next year. Especially to those of you who read this blog often enough that you will actually see my kudos. I personally know 2 of you, Heather and Bruce, who reached 50,000 words. Yeah for both of you. Anyone else?
OK, so now it’s a week later. If you overindulged in celebratory champagne, the hangover’s gone. So now what?
By the miracle of the 21st Century magic of Amazon, you can self-publish your novel for free! We had a presentation at our Monday Writer’s Group by our resident guru who has done exactly that with two books. He estimates that you can upload your novel, select a cover, and publish in about 2 hours. That includes a “print on demand” version, so you can even have copies for all your friends for Christmas presents.
I beg of you, don’t do that. Not yet.
You’re now a novelist. Take a moment to savor that. It’s a label you share with me and J.K. Rowling and Charles Dickens and Ian Fleming and Earnest Hemingway. You can wear the label with pride. Even Shakespeare, who’s supposed to be one of the greatest writers in the entire canon of English literature, never wrote a novel.
But with pride comes responsibility to your craft. To OUR craft.
Take your time with your new offspring. Polish with care; edit with love and a discerning eye.
I look forward to reading your novel sometime this spring.