During the month of November, I started to feel bad that I wasn’t catching up with all my blog posts, but you know what? I stopped and ignored those guilty feelings. It’s not to say I don’t care about my blog. I had a bigger priority this past month, and that was writing a complete novel — in 30 days. Yep, you read that right. Thirty days!
If you haven’t heard about NaNoWriMo, it’s basically an annual event that runs from November 1-30, and, along with all other NaNoWriMo writers around the world, you are tasked to write a 50,000-word book. It doesn’t matter what kind of book you write as long as it meets the challenge. And, you have 30 days to write the whole darn thing. Most people can’t even fathom writing that much in a lifetime alone. And, believe me, I was one of those people. But, I’ve been a writer of all trades all my life. I knew I had to participate. Writing a novel has been my lifelong dream since I was a kid, and to finally complete something so epic has proven I can do this for the rest of my life.
The great thing about NaNoWriMo is the community bond you form with others who have the same passion: writing. The local chapters provide meetups where you meet up to write together. Just knowing there is someone right there along with you gives that ounce of motivation and inspiration to keep on going. Trust me, there were plenty of times I almost wanted to quit and I was tempted to revise and edit as a I wrote the darn thing. But, the one rule of NaNoWriMo is you never, ever edit or revise. You have to push forward, whether your material for the day is crap or not.
I’ve been a member of NaNoWriMo for the past three years, and it was only until this November I was able to get the courage, time, determination, time, motivation, and more time to write that dang novel I’ve been envisioning in my head for the last few years. I prepped the week before the first week of November, and I went straight to work. I avoided almost all types of social outings, only making my appearance at holidays, birthdays, blog events, and the regular family dinners and outings. But, I made sure to adhere to my writing schedule everyday, even turning in late for bed every night.
To be able to inch that much closer to your end goal is a pan of mixed emotions, but overall, there is sense of accomplishment that is more than satisfactory. With the immense support of my Jimmy (who decided to participate with me) and my dear and loving friends and family, I continued my trek through the unknown month of November.
During NaNoWriMo, curious friends and family asked if I had everything outlined and ready to fill in the blanks. Nope. Probably just the beginning scene of my novel, but that was about it. Everything else I made up as I wrote. Between the hours of the previous and the following day, I had no time to think of what was going to happen next. Working full-time doesn’t really leave you much time to think about anything else. I used my lunch time, and my time after work to write. So, you can imagine how tired I was during November.
The best part was I completed my novel the day before Thanksgiving. I had a few days left before the deadline, and let me tell you, writing those last words for the ending of my novel felt incredible. I had finally finished it, and it felt freeing. Now, whether it’s good or not, well, that’s an entirely different story. I do feel there is great potential with the story. If you’re wondering, I wrote an epic/high fantasy novel. It’s new territory, but that’s the fun of it. Challenging myself has always been a high priority in my life, especially as a writer.
With NaNoWriMo over, it’s now time to move on to the next destination in my journey with my novel. Lulu, NaNoWriMo’s publishing option, gives every NaNoWriMo writer a chance to obtain a free review of their manuscript, a free hard cover edition of their novel, and to be hand selected as one of the 10 writers who will embark an author adventure, courtesy of Lulu. The deadline was just yesterday, and with instructions not to edit or revise the manuscripts, I went ahead and turned it in as is. I’m really curious as to how Lulu selects these 1o authors, but I am hoping I am one of them!
Whatever that may happen from here on out, I know I will be publishing fairly soon. My plans are to polish my novel after peer reviews, and hopefully by early spring, I will be shopping around for a literary agent. I already have my next book idea (thanks to a very vivid dream I recently had). Thanks to NaNoWriMo, my husband, and those who have supported me, I have finally come to a stage in my life where writing books is not just a fantasy, but it is now a reality.
For those beginning to write or for those who think it isn’t possible, it is. NaNoWriMo is a great community of levels of writers, but they all have or are experiencing the same things you are. Take the challenge. Whether or not you finish the book, the experience, the lessons, and the community you gain from it is worth so much more.