NaNoWriMo, Sex Scenes, and Community

sexy-writerThere’s nothing quite like writing intensely to get me going. It’s such a thrill, so satisfying, so intoxicating.

Yes, the word “sex” is in the title of this post, but I don’t mean like that (except when I do); I’m referring to a more holistic satisfaction. Intellectual intercourse, if you will.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, in case you’ve no idea what I’m talking about) is an annual event encouraging writers to commit to pounding out 50,000 words in one month. Or more, if you’re ambitious. (Yeah, that’s me. 80,000 is my goal.) I hadn’t meant to do it this year, but last minute I said, “F*ck it, I’m in.”

On par with the rest of my life, I’m engaging in NaNoWriMo as a bit of a rebel, taking a half-done manuscript from a couple years back and completely rewriting it. In a way, I’m starting from scratch, with a fresh file on one side, and that mess of an unfinished book on the other. It’s the third book in a trilogy I began when I was pregnant with my twins, and my craft has evolved so much that I decided it would be better to rewrite than try to edit the original file.

I started late: on day 4 of NaNoWriMo. Travelling with toddlers doesn’t allow for much time to work. But now I’m happily settled in for 5 weeks with family in New Orleans, and writing my happy little hands off.

My genre? Fantasy Romance. Thus the “sex scenes” bit in the blog post title. I just broke 13,000 words, and am fanning myself after adding a steamy scene between two of my characters as they sail through the fjords on an enchanted Viking ship.

But the thing I’m most excited about with NaNoWriMo is the community. As a writer, I tend to isolate myself. It’s been fabulous finding such a vibrant community of writers online in the past year, such that Twitter (once something I rolled my eyes at) has become dear to my heart.

(If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, click here to add me as a buddy!)

Yet NaNoWriMo takes it to the next level, and here in New Orleans I’ve actually made it to a “write in,” and sat in a room with a bunch of other people taking the same challenge as me. Sure, we’re all writing different stories, and sure, we’re all sucked into our computers, in our own different worlds, but there are also moments of conversation and connection, laughter and camaraderie. It gives me warm fuzzies.

It feels good to be working on this project, one I’d set aside for new ideas and the pursuit of a traditional publishing deal. I queried the hell out of the first two books in this trilogy, and was a bit discouraged when they didn’t get much love from agents. But because I love the story and my beta readers do too, I’ve decided to self-publish it. I’ll still keep on with the traditional route, as I have two other completed manuscripts to query, but I love this story too much to let it sit alone and unread on my computer forever.

So (raises glass), here’s to NaNoWriMo, to every writer who has a dream, and to keeping those dreams alive no matter how the journey changes along the way.

And to sex scenes. Because, yum!

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