This month is National Novel Writing Month, or #NaNoWriMo as it is known on Twitter. I am already working on two novels currently, Oasis in the Clouds and Fire Like Silver. Once I found out about National Novel Writing Month, my heart dropped – but only because I thought it was for the month of October! I was so disappointed that I had missed the opportunity. And when I found out it is in NOVEMBER, my heart dropped again, lower. I already have two novels in the works, can I really start a third one?
I would like to share with you writers out there the dangers and benefits of writing multiple novels at once. Here are two main points:
– You already have a novel in progress. You may be halfway through, at the beginning, or nearing the end. You are stuck, or bored, so you decide to take one of the brilliant ideas that has been forming in your head for a new one, and start that one.
DANGER: Are you putting your current novel aside because your bored? This could be because your novel boring, or just because you need a change. Figure out which one it is. If it is the first, consider changing something. If it is the latter, go right ahead and start that other novel!
PLUS: Are you putting your current novel aside because you are stuck? In this case I say, full speed ahead to your other novel. I have found that when I am writing and I am stuck at a certain point, it really helps to switch topics for a while before coming back. This, however, does not necessarily mean writing another novel. You can also try getting out of the house or office for a while, take a walk around the block or through the forest, or invite some friends over for movie night.
On a side note: It would be a good skill to develop, because some editors and publishers might require you to work on multiple novels.
– You already have multiple novels (I’m talking 3 or more)
DANGER: Be careful that you aren’t putting a novel aside to never be finished. If you get discouraged because something isn’t turning out the way you wanted to, keep two things in mind. One, YOU are the author, not your book. Go back and find a place where you can start over, without completely getting rid of all of your book. Two, a rough draft is never pretty. Try to just keep on writing, even if it seems like it’s going to hell. You will get out of the hole.
PLUS: The only plus I can think of for this point is that you will have a lot of ready-to-be-finished novels. But that can also be seen negatively.
So basically what I’m saying is: If you want to start another novel, great! But first think about why you are abandoning or setting aside your first one(s) first.
And if you are thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo, DO IT. Since it requires you to write only 50,000 words, it is more than doable, and it gives you motivation to finish what you started.