NaNoWriMo. What in the world does that mean?
November is National Novel Writing Month. Writers at all levels think about the month of November as an intense writing month. We live and breathe words as we sprint and make ourselves meet a goal of 50,000 words during the month.
Last year was my first year to participate. I decided I would do over and above the qualifications for NaNoWriMo. I wanted to begin a new book on the first of November every year.
On November 1, 2014, I wrote the first word of JOURNEY OF A DISTANT HEART. On November 30, I finished NaNoWriMo with 50,485 words. I averaged 1,682 words a day. Last week, I sent an 111,000-word draft to my JOYful Heart readers for feedback.
Originally, my goal was to have the story to them by October 31 so I could jump right into NaNoWriMo on November 1. I was about a week behind schedule. I stressed and didn’t know how I was going to finish my last edits on the current story and get it to my readers; let alone start writing 1,666 words a day during the month of November.
I was in a pickle because I’m big on setting dates and holding myself accountable. If no one else is giving me a due date, then it is up to me to do so. I need to stay motivated.
Then it dawned on me—the goal is a personal goal. No one is telling me I have to do any of this. I do it because of a creative passion deep inside of me—a God-given passion. I have choices.
I could finish the edits and get the story out to my readers. Then, start writing the new story for NaNoWriMo. I could attempt to do them simultaneously. My Super-Woman-self said, “Do them both at the same time. Yes. You can do it, I know you can.” However, I was stressing.
I don’t know about you, but when I stress over something, I get very flustered. I make mistakes. I become grumpy to all my loved ones. I snap at strangers. I might even get depressed.
I reminded myself again that my deadline is a personal one. No one is telling me I have to do this.
I refocused. I wanted my readers to have up to a month to read JOURNEY OF A DISTANT HEART. When they get back with their opinions, I need a few weeks to make any changes that I feel are necessary. In January, I plan to send a few queries to agents. I decided that I needed to finish one project before I began the other, no matter how much I wanted to do the thirty-day NaNoWriMo.
On November 1, 2015, I sat in front of my computer with a blank Word document in front of me and began typing page one of THE FORGOTTEN HEART. I wrote five hundred and ninety-seven words and plugged my word count into the NaNoWriMo site.
For the next week, I did nothing but my edits on the book for my readers. On November 8, I made copies and prepared the document for them. On November 9, I sent the rough draft to the JOYful Heart readers. Also, on November 9, I picked up where I left off on the new story.
So, how am I doing? I am very excited and full of JOY. I have written over 11,600 words since the morning of November 9. If I write 2,300 words a day, I can still make the 50,000-word goal by November 30. That is still my goal, and I am a dedicated woman who plans, works the plan, and succeeds whenever possible. I write in increments of 500 words at a time, and I am on the move. By this time next year, I’ll be finished with THE FORGOTTEN HEART, and be on to the next NaNoWriMo creation.
So, what is my message?
If you want something bad enough, plan how you will accomplish it, start working that plan, and watch it come to fruition. If you run into a life snag, refocus, re-plan, and make your dreams come true. I know you can do it. The sky is the limit. JOY awaits you.