Monthly Archives: October, 2012

NaNoWriMo…We meet again.

So, here’s the thing. Sometime in the last month, I’ve decided to do something that I’ve said I’d never do again. I compare it to childbirth—while in it, you SWEAR you’ll never do it again. However, after time, you begin to question if you were just being overly dramatic and you’re left thinking, ‘It wasn’t THAT bad.’ I think some magic fairies sprinkle us with memory-loss pixie dust so we forget. I think this is what is happening with me and NaNoWriMo ( http://www.nanowrimo.org/ ). Who in their right mind commits to writing 50,000 words in 30 days? A lot of people, actually. I did it last year. Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time people thought all writers were just a little bit crazy.
It was HARD. Balancing this huge endeavor while taking care of a family and throwing Thanksgiving in the mix was beyond exhausting (see post below.) But you know what? I did it. I pushed myself harder than I’ve ever had. When I was done, I had the bare bones of my YA novel that I’m currently querying. So, it works and as a writer who needs to be pushed on occasion, this is a good road for me to take sometimes. Below is a blog post from when I finished NaNoWriMo last year. Rereading this earlier, it was almost enough for me to pull the plug, but then I reminded myself that if I did it once, I can do it again.
12/14/2011
Today is December 14th. Exactly fourteen days ago, I finished NaNoWriMo. My final count was somewhere around 53,000 words. For those of you keeping track, yes, I wrote over 50,000 words in a month. It was incredible and draining. It was inspiring and soul crushing. It was a million other emotions I can’t put into words. How did I do it? I’m not sure. There were several days I was beyond exhausted and couldn’t fathom writing another word. I’d look at my word count ticker and wonder how I was going to make it. However, I did. The day I reached my goal, I cried and danced with my husband. Why was it such an emotional journey? Well, let me tell you…

Writers are artists. Like painters, we have a blank canvas, a palette of paints, and a vision. For writers, we have a blank page, a brain full of words, and a vision. No matter the medium of art, we all have to figure out how to make our vision come to life. Writers are notorious for writing and deleting (or erasing, however one rolls) while letting self-doubt to slowly leak into our brains, making the entire process come to a screeching halt. This is why NaNoWriMo is so great. There is no time for self-doubt. There is no room for deleting or self-loathing. You just have to do it. That is the difference, in my opinion, that makes people successful in winning NaNo or not.

Look. We all have busy lives. We work, either in or out of the home, have families, have bills, commitments, etc. These are all valid excuses, but if the hearts desire isn’t there, it won’t happen. I will say that there were days, several of them, when I was so behind, I thought giving up was my only option. I listened to people say, “Oh…You’ve done so good no matter what!” But you know what? That wasn’t good enough for me. It wasn’t good enough because if I didn’t finish, if I didn’t push myself when I thought there was nothing left for me to give, I wouldn’t have known my full potential. I wouldn’t have learned what it meant to commit to characters so near and dear to me, and watch them come to life, in just thirty days time. I wouldn’t have known the virtual hugs and hand-holding, the over abundance of encouragement and support, not just from my WBP girls, but from an enormous community of writers I’ve found on the same journey. We lifted each other up, carried one another through, and celebrated at the finish line. I have felt no greater feeling in my life since giving birth to my son. That is how powerful of an experience this was. Seeing the culmination of something you created come to life, seeing it breathe the air and see the light of day, was nothing short of absolute bliss.

Where do I go from here? Well, I go right back in and finish this sucker. NaNoWriMo may claim you can write a novel in a month, but I beg to differ. I think what you have at the end of the month is a novel missing words, lacking in structure and a overall mess. Does that mean it’s garbage? No. It just means it needs some TLC and that is where editing comes in. This is where I am right now and will be for the months ahead. Rome wasn’t built in a day, or a month, and neither was a well-rounded novel.

You hear that people? It may not be perfect, but it’s mine. Every word was from my heart and now, I’m going to make them look as beautiful as I know they can be, but for now, I’m just going to relish the fact I won NaNo. I won, one agonizing word at a time, and I feel pretty freakin good about that.