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As Dumbledore says, “Another year, gone!” And so is December, during which I strove to declutter our house.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, that process is still ongoing. I’m proud, though, of the progress we made last month. We got rid of a lot of things and cultivated a new mindset. Minimalism is now one of my happy places, and we don’t need so much stuff.
Okay, it’s mostly me having that mindset change. Husband is already frugal and of minimal belongings.
In any case, decluttering is not for the faint of heart.
If you’re attached to your things, or start feeling heart palpitations whenever you think about getting rid of the ugly painting your mother-in-law gave you, but you’ve never let see the light of day, you might want to invest in some decluttering books and resources to help you do it.
The most practical of the decluttering books that I read is Unstuff Your Life, written by a man who literally does this for a living. He goes into his clients’ homes to help them get rid of all the stuff they previously have been unable to release.
He has two central principles that sum up the entire book and can be used by anyone.
The first is “One home for everything” and the second is “Like with like.”The two core principles of unstuffing your life: One Home for Everything, and Like with Like. Click To Tweet
Those principles are self-explanatory, but the book answers a lot of questions that people will undoubtedly have when they venture into this scary realm of getting rid of their things.
These two principles let me know exactly where to find the extra batteries and all the empty notebooks and help make the decision as to which coffee mugs to keep—and where to store them.
Through this process, I had to come to terms with a lot of things I’ve kept since childhood. Trinkets I brought back with me from our trips to Australia, old photographs in which I look terrible but kept for some reason, small souvenir boxes that did nothing more than sit on a shelf and look pretty—except they haven’t been on a shelf since I lived in my parents’ home.
I’ve outgrown all these things, have no more use or sentimental attachment to them, and it was time to let them go.
And now, let’s move on.
Welcome to my 30-Day Challenge for January 2019: NaNoEdMo!
Among other things, this month I want to actually finish writing the meat of my book and start self-editing. As of today, my word count sits at 61,499. To recap, I finished the month of November (the official month for writing the dang thing) with 52,126 words.
I’m shooting for 75,000 before I really dig in to, as Stephen King says, “kill my darlings.”
Even as I write this thing I know it has to be cleaned up, some scenes moved (or removed), other characters fleshed out, introduced, or eliminated.
Self Editing is Weird
The first phase of writing any book is getting your ideas onto the page, no matter how ugly or disorganzied they look at first.
Making it pretty comes later.
It’s hard to avoid self-editing while in the process of writing. It’s something I’ve always done when writing, with Fanfiction especially. I like making things flow as I write it instead of just getting all my word-vomit onto the page.
But for this novel I know I have to get the words out first before editing anything. If I come across something I know I need to change later, I make a comment on it instead of changing it right there.
Writing a book is hard work.
I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process, and I fully expect it to take longer than the month of January. But the point is to commit to getting it finished first. Then I can spend 50 hours editing the dang thing.
NaNoEdMo is the shorthand for the “What’s Next?” months of January and February, where the goal is to spend 50 hours editing what we wrote in November. Like NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month,” NaNoEdMo stands for “National Novel Editing Month(s).”
Will it actually take me 50 hours to self-edit?
I have no idea!
To be honest, I’ve never gotten past having a “shitty first draft” of any of the books I’ve written. This is, of course, not counting Fanfiction. I edited the shit out of my longest fic and got past all my shitty first drafts.
This whole book thing is just one part—one facet—of my goals for 2019, which is to actually get this thing published before NaNoWriMo ’19 starts on November 1st.
And just as the book is one part of my 2019 goals, finishing and editing the book are only two parts of the process to get it published.
No Point Tempting Rejection
I’m not planning to go through a traditional publisher like Harper Collins, Scholastic, or Penguin.
I know the reality of rejection from those. Stephen King kept a nail—and then a spike—of his rejections on the wall in his office.
And can you imagine being the 12 publishers who turned down Harry Potter?
The fastest and most cost-effective method right now is Kindle or eBook publishing, via self-publishing. That also comes with self-promotion and self-marketing, but even with trad publishing, I’d be doing a lot of the heavy lifting myself anyway.
After finishing and self-editing, I’ll hire a real editor and real proofreader to do final run-throughs of my work, and then have a cover made.
Once that’s all polished, it’ll be time to build a launch team and do the launch run.
I will have to schedule my time and maintain/stick to that schedule in order to achieve everything I’ve set my mind upon.
The hard part isn’t coming up with goals or announcing them to the world, though sometimes that can be scary.
The hard part is making the commitment to stick with it even when it’s difficult or doesn’t feel rewarding at the moment. The final prize is more valuable than any discomfort I may experience along the way, and it’s important to remember that.
Wish me luck as I finish this book and start making it ready for release!