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The Elephant in the Room

Elephant BlogIt’s November 1st, and for hordes of writers out there, that means one thing: NaNoWriMo. If you’re still among the uninitiated, that stands for National November Writing Month — a pledge to write and finish a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, no excuses. Now, many other writers will give you tips and tricks for writing your NaNovel (check out the fabulous Rexroth’s month of hints from last year, starting here — also available as a free e-book — or Chuck Wendig’s “Dos and Don’ts”), and so I’m not about to start.

What I do want to do is draw your attention to Chuck’s last “Don’t”:

Don’t Take It So Seriously That You Start Sending It Out to Agents and Editors Immediately.

On a similar note, former literary agent and all-around awesome person Colleen Lindsay began the day with a couple of tweets:

Today marks the day all literary agents and editors dread: NaNoWriMo. #rememberthatrevisionisyourfriend #donthitsendonthatqueryonDecemberOne

Worst queries I ever received as an agent always started with “I’ve just finished writing my NaNoWriMo novel and…”

Don’t be one of those authors agents and editors dread. Recognize that even if you win NaNoWriMo, your manuscript is in NO WAY ready to submit. Take time to revise, revise, revise. Maybe even set it aside for a few months so you can come back to it fresh in the spring.

This is a marathon, people, not a sprint.

But I don’t want to be all doom and gloom and deargodpleasedon’tsendmeyournovel. I want to tell you how I’m getting into the spirit of things myself.

No, I’m not writing a novel myself (though I’ve participated — and won — in the past).

On the suggestion of another great literary agent, Erin Murphy of EMLA, I’m signing up for NaMaReMo, or National Manuscript Reading Month. At the moment, I’ve got about 30 client manuscripts, partials, and fulls sitting on my Kindle to be read and responded to. I’m pledging to read and respond to at least one author per day until I’m all caught up. At the same time, of course, I’m also going to continue to plow through queries and will try to keep those under control, as usual.

I may finish early, which would be awesome, of course, but I may also add more to my plate in the process of going through queries, so it’s not the same clear finish line as NaNoWriMo. Still, it’s a goal, and I’m excited!

What about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo, or your own version of it? If you’ve done it before, do you have any tips or tricks for others? Share them in the comments!

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