NaNoEdMo: Revise that NaNoWriMo draft

You completed NaNoWriMo and you have at least 50k words of rough draft. You’ve put it aside since then.

Now it’s time to edit and revise.

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe

NaNoEdMo is National Novel Editing Month. It starts March 1. The idea between NaNoEdMo is that you spend the month of March editing your draft. Instead of counting words edited, the goal is to spend 50 hours revising your novel. It’s free to join here, and joining provides community benefits, including an active forum and lots of support with other writers revising and editing right along with you. There’s lots of advice and help as well as commiseration.

You can even get a certificate for completing your 50 hours. The rules are pretty simple. Basically:

You have to log your editing hours at least once every 7 days in March until you reach fifty hours. That is once between 1st-7th March inclusive, once between 8th-14th March inclusive, once between 15th- 21st March inclusive, once between 22nd-28th March inclusive and once between 29th-31st March inclusive; making a total of 5 times and totaling fifty hours or more. You can log your hours as much as you like but you must have at least one log in each period until you reach fifty hours.

They define editing as:

Editing is defined as changing previously written material. Editing does not include writing a completely new novel. It does not include planning or researching. It does include anything from correcting the grammar and spelling to substantial rewriting of the novel.

That means that your novel doesn’t have to be one that you wrote for NaNoWriMo. It also means that you can continue your 50K novel; keep in mind that 50K is a pretty slim novel by modern standards, so fleshing it out as part of editing is a reasonable idea.

If you want some suggestions about how to edit your own work, many writers have found Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King full of practical advice about how to edit, what to edit, and why you need to edit.

Reading Challenges for 2017

A stack of books on a table, waiting to be read
Wikimedia Commons

Being a writer almost guarantees that you’re a reader, too. Reading  for a writer is often a great way to give your back-brain time to figure out What Happens Next, and reading can provide inspiration for both technique and plot. Plus, it’s fun, even if finding the time to read (and write) can be a challenge. Maybe you’ve already started a 2017 Writing Challenge; a reading challenge might be the perfect companion (or help you kickstart your writing for 2017). You still have time to join one of the 2017 Reading Challenges.

If you’re looking for something that’s manageable and fun, but still a challenge, consider the AW Book Club forum’s 2017 AW Reading Challenge, which challenges you to pick twelve categories from a list and read twelve books in 2017 with a goal of reading some books that challenge you. There’s lots of support to cheer you on, suggest what you should read next, and discuss the books you’ve read.

The 2017 Bookish Reading Challenge includes a monthly prompt designed to kill your TBR stack.  “At the start of each challenge, we’ll post a list of recommendations from our own TBR piles to inspire you. But if you hit a month where the challenge doesn’t apply to you, we dare you to pick up a book from your TBR pile that breaks you out of your reading comfort zone.” You can see the Bookish month-by-month challenge prompts here.

GoodReads.com is offering the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge, a very flexible challenge; you pick the books you want to read and how many, and GoodReads will help track your reading for the year, letting you know how many you’ve read, and whether or not you’re on track or falling behind your goal for the year (or zooming ahead).

The 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge offers 40 book selection prompts to help diversify and expand your reading 2017, with a goal of reading 40 books, but there’s an “advanced” prompt category with twelve additional books, for a total of 52 books in 2017 (yep that’s a book a week). There’s a printable file you can download to help you track your books, there’s an active GoodReads group for lots of community support (and reading suggestions). The book suggestions range from “A book with a cat on the cover” to “a book by an author who uses a pseudonym.”

The Sirens Conference emphasizes women and fantasy literature, and they have their own Sirens Reading Challenge. The challenge requires you to read 25 books in all, with specific books being drawn from the GOH at this years conference, books related to the theme of the conference and and specific categories, with a lot of options. The goal is to read 25 books by October 1, and score a bragging button for your Sirens profile. There’s a Sirens Challenge GoodReads group for support and discussion of the books you’re reading.

If those reading challenges don’t tempt you, you can always design your own, or pick one from this list of challenges or this list of reading challenges.

Let us know in the comments what you’re reading or hoping to read in 2017—and how you juggle your reading and writing time.

Writing Challenges for 2017

Sometimes we all benefit from writing something other than our WIP, or writing with a goal other than Finish the Book, something that provides a bit of structure, and maybe, a supportive community of sufferers writers. A writing challenge is a great way to encourage yourself to write regularly, or as a warm up exercise before you hit the pages for your WIP. And this is a great time to start participating in one! Journaling is a habit that many writers have found useful. It can be a way to “break the ice” for the day before you begin work on your WIP. This site offers a list of 365 daily prompts. Ray Bradbury’s 52 week short story challenge to aspiring writers A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80)describes itself as “the writing challenge that knows you have a life.” There are four “rounds” every year; each round lasts 80 days. Your goal can be anything you like as long as it is measurable (e.g. number of words/pages, specified amount of time to spend on writing per day/week, number of pages edited, etc.). Once you have settled on a goal, you write it up on your blog and link to it on the Goals Post in the  ROW80 Facebook Grroup. Then you “check in” on the following Wednesday and Sunday via your blog and the Facebook group. 750 words a day is about writing 750 words a day, every day. It’s a great way to start your writing session. The Writing Cooperative has a flexible 52-week writing challenge with one rule: you commit to writing a thing (anything!) each week. It can be anything, but you’ll be part of a supportive community of other writers also writing a thing a week. If a weekly challenge is a bit much for you, consider a monthly writing challenge to write a short story in response to a prompt. If you’re a book reviewer, consider the 2017 Review Writing Challenge. Set a personal goal for how many reviews you want to write in 2017, post ’em on your blog or Good Reads or Amazon or wherever and track your progress. Or you can make up your own challenge; maybe you want to write a blog post a week, or send a postcard a week or write a journal entry, or 1000 words . . . what’s your writing challenge?