I did it! I made it through and “won” NaNoWriMo. I’ll admit the idea of writing an entire novel within a month was a little scary, but exciting at the same time. Having never participated before, I wasn’t sure what to expect and hadn’t given it much consideration, but I’d been dwaddling around in a couple of projects with nothing really keeping my attention and then this new story kept screaming at me. Determined not to start anything new until I finished one of the other’s up, I kept putting it off and then everyone kept talking about NaNo and I said, what the heck. I jumped on the idea at the last moment. Literally, I signed up on October 31st. NaNo began November 1. But even then I ended up a few days behind. I didn’t write anything the first two days. I can’t now remember what was going on, but I knew going into it that writing every day wasn’t going to be an option. Like everyone else, I have work and family obligations that keep me from it, but I was hopeful that I could do it. Okay, I was determined!
Starting off, things went very well. I made a few contacts and my word count was always more than needed. I was excited and thought, man this is easy. Then week three rolled around and my oldest child got sick. And not with a twenty-four hour bug or a little cold. He had a terrible case of bronchitis. In fact, today was his first day back to school in more than two weeks. I’m not sure if that’s what threw me off or if it was a combination of missing and playing catch up at work, running to doctors visits, and planning the Thanksgiving Holiday. Whatever it was, my writing suffered. I don’t think I made my word count any of those days and what I did tapd out, was pretty rough. Basically I was throwing out lines just to meet a count and it wasn’t very good. As week four rolled around, I wasn’t all that hopeful. I hosted Thanksgiving this year, so I knew I’d need to spend Wednesday evening baking and Thursday was gone. But again, I was willing to give it my all.
There are things I both love and loathed about NaNo. I love the community and support you receive. Frustrated? Tweet it, tagging #NaNoWriMo and you’re sure to get a little support or advice (some followers too). Make it to a certain goal, shout that out. You’ll have all sorts of congrats coming your way. Those little things help, they do, and they were very much appreciated. The awesome E.L. Wicker, who also participated and won, was very supportive (Her debut novel, Fractured Immortal releases December 21st and can be pre-ordered now, by the way :). Our good friend Bill, checked in regularly with words of encouragement. Julie Stock, gave us a little push at the end, and when I was really having a bad day, DJPM was there cheering me on. These are just a few of the wonderful people who kept me motivated and made my first NaNo experience something to remember. I also met Laurajay. Who I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of her work. She didn’t quite make her goal, but she’s close and let me tell you, the girl is talented. I’ll seriously cry if she bums out on me and doesn’t finish her story. She’s a copy editor, mostly non-fiction, and has generously offered to take a peek at my current work, even if it’s for proofreading purposes. Hello! Um, have I ever mentioned that I think comma’s are the anti-Christ? I know that’s where my weakness lies and her offer is truly invaluable. Besides, I’m already in love with her post-apocalyptic romance.
But with the good, also comes the bad. I pretty much ignored most forms of social media for the month of November. I skipped reading blogs and didn’t scan my twitter feed except for checking in with those listed above. I stopped reading and quit listening to music. I didn’t even catch a full Kentucky basketball game the entire month. When I wasn’t tending to family stuff, I was writing, even when it wasn’t always easy. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, my body let me know that it wasn’t very happy with me. My back, shoulders, legs, elbows, hands, basically everything hurt. I was tired and antsy and yet I trooped on. Honestly, had I not had those few days surrounding Thanksgiving off from work it probably wouldn’t have happened and had I not hosted Thanksgiving and had all those leftovers, I probably would have been more stressed with the idea of having to cook for the family. While my guys lounged around and watched movies Friday and Saturday, I camped out on the couch and typed my fingers off. I gave up with about fifteen hundred words to go around midnight on Saturday. To the point of exhaustion, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Four o’clock Sunday morning, I apparently felt differently, because I was up in full force, with renewed energy and ideas. Those fifteen hundred words flew out effortlessly and with my word count validated, I shut my laptop and said that I was taking a break. A week, maybe two. No writing or editing, just some time to refocus for the edits and catch up on things I’ve neglected.
Yesterday, I laid on the couch and watched TV. I didn’t go to my sisters like I normally do. I helped my big guy start working on some of his make-up work. I caught a basketball game, listened to music while I took a walk, I took a nap and I read. Not one, but two books (okay, they were very short novellas) and by the end of the day, my fingers were itching to open my laptop back up. Yep, I’m all ready to dive back in. I haven’t-yet anyways. I’m still holding out and hoping that a few days away will jump start my gusto when I do begin. I’ve been promising two friends that I was going to read their books and I still have some feedback that I’d like to send Laurajay. So, yeah, I’m trying to give it at least a week. We’ll see 🙂
Overall, NaNoWriMo was good for me. I needed the little push and drive to make me maintain focus and finish up my second novel. It’s still rough in places and needs some thorough editing, but I have something to work with. Will I do it again? Maybe, but I’m not going to commit just yet. It takes a lot to write an entire novel within thirty days, so I will have to see where I am next year before I decide.
Congratulations to everyone who participated and thank you NaNo, I now have another completed manuscript ready for editing.