Editor's note: This is the third in a series of five weekly updates concerning the experience of National Novel Writing Month.
By Josette Keelor and Jeb Inge
What did your friends/family say when you told them you were going to write a novel in a month?
INGE: I'm not even sure some of my family knows what I do for a living. I'm definitely sure they aren't aware of my "writing" a novel.
KEELOR: This is my fifth year, so no one was surprised. I did briefly consider not participating this year, because I had to put aside editing another novel to write this one, but when I told my husband that, he reminded me that writing a novel every November is what I do. It doesn't feel like November anymore if I'm not.
The NaNoWriMo website recommends locking up your inner editor during November. Has that been helpful or even possible?
INGE: I'm already an editor. If that wasn't possible, I shouldn't have a job.
KEELOR: It's possible to an extent. I've had a lot of practice, so I tend to write that way anyway, without editing much as I go -- otherwise I'll never get past the first paragraph. On the other hand, I do edit for spelling as I go, no matter how long it takes.
Has participating in NaNoWriMo changed any preconceptions you had about how the novel writing process might be?
INGE: Doing NaNoWriMo has only confirmed every single reservation I had about a massive writing project. And none of those reservations stemmed from optimism.
KEELOR: I can't remember thinking that much about the novel writing process before I started writing a novel. Every writer seems to have a different way of doing it. They write in the morning or at night, for two hours a day or until they reach 2,000 words, with an outline or with only a character and a vague premise. There doesn't seem to be a common element that works for everyone other than just making the commitment to write and then following through and doing it.
Going into week four, how's the novel coming along?
INGE: I actually picked up steam and am up to more than 20,000 words. I feel like George Pickett around noon on the third day at Gettysburg.
KEELOR: As of Tuesday, I had 28,280 words, but Thanksgiving took up all my writing time after that. The story itself is going well, though it's been taking my main character a lot longer than I thought it would to make it through the storyline. I might hit 50,000 words next week, but the book won't be finished.
What will you have to do over the next week to ensure a win?
INGE: Start praying. Invoke the power of Zeus. Outsource my writing to China.
KEELOR: Write a lot -- nothing surprising.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or email@example.com
Contact Region Editor Jeb Inge at 540-465-5137 ext. 186, or firstname.lastname@example.org