Right after I finished NaNoWriMo last year I had a burst of creative energy that resulted in a slightly more personal work, a novel based on some geographical truths but features a fictional plot.

In the last two months I’ve dedicated myself to writing at least 1,000 words a day, and that’s really given me a source of pride and joy that I wasn’t expecting. I just wanted to see if I could do it, how I would feel about it, and what I’d end up with.

So my second 50,000-word manuscript is complete and this one I actually have some pride in. It’s a mess, to be sure. Lots of holes to be filled in, entire subplots added, scenes taken away. And I’m not even sure if this is my completed first draft, but it feels like a good place to take a break and get a little distance from it (though not a whole year as I did with my last effort).

I’ve been trying to decide what to do next and I’m thinking I should take on a different challenge for a little while. I am considering editing the manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. It’s a weak effort, and I understand that it might not be worth finishing and polishing but working on it might actually teach me how to edit my work, how to revise and rewrite and rework with a set timeline in mind. It’s also slightly terrifying to contemplate. For some reason, I keep thinking of the process as a kind of self-editing and it wasn’t until I started to write this post that my thoughts solidified and I realized that my job is not to edit my work in the way I would someone else’s but to continue to flesh it out, strengthen my voice, tighten up everything and continue to enrich this little world I’m trying to create. And that process sounds so much more interesting than what I’d built it up to be in my head.

The most exciting part of this process thus far is just how often I surprise myself.