Owning my NaNoWriMo
For those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. The November event involves a writer attempting 50k words in 30 days (1500 words/day). I had never tried it since I start my projects in January and by November I’m polishing, not adding word count. Many commit to the experience to try their creativity with fiction, finish a chunk of manuscript, or crank out a rough draft. (No, you may not type the same word 50k times.) Since I approached the experience for the last reason, I set my goal at 75k words (2500 words/day) as the word count is closer to my typical rough drafts. Also, because my seasonal employment starts in November, if I had a rising action, climactic chance of meeting my goal I’d have to run my own NaNo event in October. This would require diligent preparation:
Mid September: Break up with my current WIP which I’d slaved over since January. I love you, I hate you. Bu-bye. Next, take my mom to Disney World. Spin her around on some rides, enjoy yummy food, get caught in the rain, soak up the sunshine, and snort when laughing.
Vacation recovery week: Follow up on queries, curse at three chapters in ex-WIP, perform ultimate writer procrastination (cleaning closets), and commit to working title of NaNo draft – Getting Published is Murder. Can’t imagine why that came to me as I read a rejection while chewing on a Mickey waffle during vacay.
Final week in September: Journal, noodle, wander around like I’m lost as I contemplate my protagonist (Jill) and what the French Toast her story will entail.
October 1st: Go time. By mid-afternoon, I had 3k words.
Insert 29 days of swearing, hair pulling, staying up a few nights until 1 am to hit word quota, and oh, yeah, apply for that seasonal job. I cried with joy at 50k words. The 65k-70k zone almost broke me. Writer’s block parked its hairy ass in my chair, trying to appease me with: “It’s your own goal. No one will know if you lie on social media or fudge it a few days, right?”
Aside from leaning toward Type A personality, I found out Blind Conviction had won a Maggie.
October 30th: At 7:27 PM I had 75,027 words. Legit.
The sum of my NaNo experience: Accountability – harness it, even if it means extra chocolate and your dog forgetting what you look like. (The cat won’t – he’s lounging on your desk.) Because no friend, family member, spouse, agent, or editor will believe in your writing, unless you’re willing to fight for it. Believing in yourself is easy when you place in a great competition or you inch closer toward a book contract. It seems impossible at 5 pm when you have 2k words to go that day. But those are the moments that matter most. The struggle and theme that lands in the manuscript and takes your writing to the next level. Why we write at all.