Michelle Rowen

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I am not admitting defeat…

…..But I am admitting that I won’t be completing Nano successfully this year.


No, it’s fine. And it’s the right decision. When the words come for me, they come fast and furious. 80K in a month is not ridiculous. And yet…when the words aren’t quite at the brink of spilling onto the page, trying to force them out does not help at all.

While I am a huge Nano supporter for learning to ignore one’s inner editor, I have to be honest with myself. I’ve done Nano three times. Two times I ended up with nothing I could use. The third time I came up with my 2009 YA release. However, if you compare what will be published to what I had at the end of November ’06, only the names and the general situation remain the same. Everything else had to be rewritten. Multiple times.

The thing is, my current WIP will be completed when it needs to be. Late December to go to betas. And February 1st to go to my editor. It will be finished. There is no doubt. But 50K of it probably won’t be finished by November 30th.

And That’s Okay.

As soon as I made the decision to take it easy with the writing for the rest of the month and not force it, I felt a huge weight lift. Forcing yourself to do something that doesn’t feel right isn’t a good thing. I always talk about trusting my gut. Well, sometimes my gut doesn’t talk as loudly as it should. My gut was across the street having a donut and a coffee when it should have been advising me to quit sooner.

So my plan is to go back to the beginning of my book and read and revise what I already have. I need a good foundation. I already have nearly 100 pages written. I’m well on my way. But if I screw up now, it will take much too long to fix things at the back end.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been taking a “proactive procrastination” break by rereading my YA opus from a few years back — my ghost trilogy that I still really love. I’m seeing big, thick YAs on the shelves, so instead of keeping it as a trilogy, I combined the three books to create 128K of teenaged ghost angst. Ready to rock. We’ll see what my agent says when he reads it.

And I might be going to see Twilight again tomorrow afternoon. I may need an intervention.

4 comments to “I am not admitting defeat…”

  1. Maureen McGowan
     · November 25th, 2008 at 11:38 pm · Link

    You know… This might be controversial, but I kinda think that NaNo works best for relative beginners. For people who need to get through writing that first (or second or third) book. I wrote a huge chunk of my third novel (my first non-category-romance book) during NaNo and thought it rocked. But haven’t been able to do that forced-fast-writing thing since.

    I’d like to think NaNo might also work for a more experienced writer who has a clear picture of their story going into the month, but have yet to test that theory.

    So, a long way to say I completely support your decision not to force it. Having just emerged from way too many weeks of revision hell, on a book I kind of forced myself to finish too quickly last spring/summer… I have seen the figure-sh*t-out-when-you-run-into-a-big-problem light. Amen.

  2. Michelle Rowen
     · November 26th, 2008 at 9:17 am · Link

    I have a lot of prewriting and a very solid outline going into Nano, but I forget about the days when I just need to, essentially, stare out the window and let things gel. I’m not an everyday writing. Even now. I’ve written over 300K since the beginning of the year, but if I had to sit down every day and write X number of words consistently, I don’t think I could do it. I need that downtime. Unfortunately my downtime was required this month. Got to let it come naturally.

    It’s too bad. I really like getting the PDF certificate. ;)

  3. Mary2
     · November 26th, 2008 at 2:20 pm · Link

    Michelle, Michelle, Michelle…
    I am so disappointed. Your husband Hugh Jackman is named People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and not a mention here. Sigh. Where’s the party hardy?
    Are you celebrating quietly or are you disappointed because now there will be even more women ohhhhing and ahhing over his immense hotness?

  4. Michelle Rowen
     · November 26th, 2008 at 8:17 pm · Link

    OMG. You’re totally right. I twittered it but I didn’t blog it. I am a terrible future Mrs. Jackman!! I will rectify this.

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