Or rather, she found me.
A couple of weeks ago I posted an Instagram pic showing page 100 from the book I'm writing. A blog/social media friend I've known for a couple of years reached out to find out more about what I'm writing. It turns out that we're working on novels in the same genre (paranormal), so after exchanging a few messages that outlined what our respective stories are about we decided to be critique partners.
And let me tell you, it's been invaluable to my writing process!
For one, I am really, really, really enjoying her story. It's different than what I'm writing, which is good because I'm not comparing my story to hers. Instead, I'm finding myself inspired by what she's writing. It makes me excited for the possibility of what we're both working to finish. It is pushing me to adjust in my own text some of the things that I've loved and critiqued in her text. And putting it out there for other eyes has really pushed me to stop editing what I've already written and JUST WRITE.
I've attempted NaNoWriMo a number of times, but the format is one that I have a terrible time with. I'm not one to throw a bunch of words against the wall and not stick around to see if they stick. I have to examine what I wrote, why I wrote it, and then make sure that it works in the context of what I've already written - and what I want to write down the line. I worry over the words I've chosen. I want to be judicious and deliberate. NaNoWriMo is far too messy for how I like to work. At the same time, it's clear that how I generally work is not doing me any favors in actually finishing what I started, so giving my words to someone else forces me to finally accept what I've written and move on to what's to come. That alone is worth it's weight in gold. (This isn't to say that this is the first time anyone has seen what I wrote. A few years ago I shared several chapters with a friend but she didn't provide a critique, and I got the impression that she had stopped reading, or didn't like what I had written at all. I felt hurt, and that led me to keep my words hidden from others.)
This process has also forced me to think about what I want to do when my writing is done. I've weighed the pros and the cons of seeking out an agent and publisher versus self-publishing, and I think I'm close to figuring out how I want to proceed. But that's putting the cart in front of the horse. First, I need to finish the darn thing, and finish it well.
I started today with 68,222 words, which translates to 230 pages. My goal is to get over 300, and with a clearer idea of how I want the third part of the story to move forward, I feel more confident than ever that I can get there.