Note: This post also appears on the Indie Book Collective’s blog page today.
I love March. It’s one of my favorite months of the year because we eagerly wave good-bye to winter and embrace the warmth and green and brightness that is spring. In fact, March is one of my favorite months to write because I can take long walks without freezing my toes off and think about where my stories are going or develop new characters. Everything seems to inspire me—a robin sitting on its nest, a newly budded flower, the blue sky—I find story inspirations everywhere, and my muse is as giddy as a school child at recess when she thinks of all the story possibilities.
Spring aside, there’s another major March event that my friends will never let me forget: March Madness. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, March Madness is all about college basketball tournaments. In years gone by, I’ve filled out brackets and joined the company bracket pool with the others, but this year, I’m doing March Madness in my own way. Before I tell you about it, however, I need to ask you a question. Remember that tiny little event we talked about back in November called National Novel Writing Month? You know—the one where we took the challenge and wrote 50,000 words in 30 days? (Hey now, don’t groan at me. I can hear you from all the way over here.)
At the end of November, I told you that I’d be back in the spring with more NaNo news and posts, and I’m excited to tell you that the time has come. It’s time to dust off those manuscripts, flex those writing muscles, and take the next step toward achieving your publishing dreams. I told you that the IBC is here to help you reach your writing goals, and that I’d be going through the process with you.
This year, as my own version of March Madness, I’m participating in a month-long program for writers called National Novel Editing Month. It’s designed for those pesky little internal editors whose red pens you stole and who you sent on vacation during NaNoWriMo. This month, NaNoEdMo participants gather together and, in traditional NaNoWriMo style, join forces to help push each other to edit their novels. The challenge is to log 50 hours of editing time by the end of the month. And since I know you’re all working hard on your own stories, who wants to join me?
Before you panic and run away at the thought of this challenge, let me assure you that the hardest part is behind us. Writing at least 50,000 words in 30 days is a monstrous task, and if you can do that, then logging 50 editing hours in 31 days will be a piece of cake (and you even have an extra day!). Even if you didn’t make it to 50,000 words in November, you can still participate in NaNoEdMo. The philosophy is the same: at the end of the month, it’s really all about advancing toward your publishing dreams. If you can only log 3 editing hours the whole month, you’re that much closer to having a polished manuscript that’s ready for publication. And the best part is that you don’t have to do it alone. Grab your favorite writing buddy, go to your local writers’ group, or talk to your muse. Tell your friends that you need them to check on your editing status to see how many hours you’ve logged this week. You can do it!
I’m also excited to tell you that NaNoEdMo is just step two of our journey. In June of this year, the IBC is introducing its own month-long program called National Novel Marketing Month—NaNoMarMo for short. NaNoMarMo is going to be amazing, and I can’t wait for you all to participate. The goal will be to set up and implement your author platform and start marketing your book by the end of June, whether you’ve published it yet or not. We’ll have message boards, a website, prizes, and so much more. The IBC will release more details about this program soon, so keep watching for more info.
Melissa Dalton is a writer and a book lover, and she has been all her life. Her first novel, Merrick Maples and the Legend of the Lost Stone, which she wrote during NaNoWriMo 2010, will be released in June 2012. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.