Coming March 2020

The Copy Cat

A Post about Plunging Into Your Writing

I am currently in the process of “doing” NaNoWriMo, revising a Young Adult Novel, and thinking about starting revisions to a middle grade novel that needs a lot of work.

And then there is blogging, and tweeting, Facebook, and most important of all, reading!

It is enough to make my head spin.

Add in wonderful articles that if I would take the time to read them, could make me a MUCH better writer.

What I have discovered, in this year leading up to the publication of my debut novel, is that what I need to focus on is writing (and reading).  Especially now, before I begin promoting my book, visiting schools, and all of the rest of the things that accompany a book’s publication.

I had a revelation this past week, when I discovered how careful planning in advance and a really kick-ass idea  could make NaNoWriMo and revisions feel, well thrilling.

I marvelled at how much easier it was than the YA I am revising (and revising). How the words fairly tripped off my tongue and out through the tips of my fingertips. “Maybe,” I thought, “I am getting better at this.”

Perhaps. But I am also in the phase of revisions that feel like a slog, where I feel as if all the good parts (in my mind) that got jettisoned away have left me rewriting practically the whole second half of the novel and at times grimacing as I do so.



The picture above is done by one of my favourite children’s book illustrators (and a Canadian to boot!) Debbie Ridpath Ohi. As soon as I saw it I knew I needed to include it because it is SOOOO true!

On the other hand, the new novel is shiny and fresh and fun.

It turns out I need a lot of drafts to get a good novel. I envy those people who turn something wonderful out in three or four drafts. I suspect this book will have 8 or 9 drafts before I dare send it to my agent.

But NaNoWriMo reminds me of the thrill I felt when I wrote the first draft of this book back in 2013 during that year’s NaNoWriMo. It had seemed shiny and fresh then, too.

The thing is to get it down and then work, work, work it until you have molded it into something that stays with you after you’re done.

At times I worry that this is the novel that gets packed away in a drawer forever. At other times, I know that with enough elbow grease and imagination, it can be something wonderful.

It has been an interesting experience, writing two projects at once, but it has also been rewarding, and it has reminded me that perhaps I ought always have a couple of projects on the go at once!

How’s your writing coming these days?




2 thoughts on “A Post about Plunging Into Your Writing”

Kevin Cyr

I’ve never done NaNo. I’ve considered it. I don’t know. Do people do it to force themselves to make a commitment? Or is it just something good to do anyways?

My writing is going well. Right now I’m making content for my website I’m working on.

Wendy McLeod MacKnight

Hi Kevin! I force myself to make a commitment, but then I am a Capricorn and we seem to like to torture ourselves like that! I have friends who do it and don’t worry at all if they make it to 50,000 words. I like that I’m writing with a bunch of other people all over the world. Makes me feel connected in a funny way! And good on you re: website content – it is SUCH a lot of work!

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Author of Children's Literature