Reflections | NaNoWriMo

Coffee, Cup, Table, Drink, Beverage, Espresso, Tea, Mug

It’s officially the end of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and after my first attempt at participating in the challenge, I have some thoughts

Wait. Go back. Refresh my memory on NaNoWriMo?

Sure. NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit that hosts National Novel Writing Month every November, inspiring creatives to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for some time, and this year, I wanted to give it a whirl. I set out to write the first five chapters of a book that I’ve had in my mind for years, and I knew from the start that I would not be able to meet 50K words in 30 days. Between work, pregnancy exhaustion, and other daily tasks, I wanted to be realistic so I wouldn’t be disappointed come November 30. Overall, my goal was just to write more creatively in November.

So. How did I do?

It depends on who you ask. But if you’re asking me, I did the best I could. The first week of November was a HUGE success. I was writing one hour a night and flew through the first three chapters of my book. I was feeling energized, creative, and inspired. I loved writing dialogue and creating a world of my own.

Then, I hit a wall. A big, ol’ pregnancy wall. After work (where I write 8-12 hours a day, mind you…), all I wanted to do was eat, watch a show, read a book, shower, and go to bed. Rinse. Repeat. November was a blur, my friends. I honestly haven’t touched my book since that first week in November.

Instead of writing, I did read 8 books and wrote 9 blog posts. So, while I was not writing for my book, I was still writing, which is what I wanted to do in the first place. I call that a success. I also completed every entry in my gratitude journal for November. Something I never did before!

While I am in high spirits, it’s still really hard to watch people meet their goals. I get a little envy, I do admit. I wonder what may be wrong with me that I can’t find the drive to write my own novel. It’s important that I continue to remind myself that I am not them. They are different people with different schedules and priorities. Could I have prioritized NaNoWriMo? Yes. Did I do things that brought me joy on the weeknights and weekends instead? Yes. I had a great month, so that’s all that matters.

I guess I wouldn’t say that I failed. I still wrote three chapters and got further in this book than ever before. And that’s a victory. I always said that this past month was about the journey, not the final product. I am happy to say that I participated in NaNoWriMo as best as I could, and look forward to trying again next year!

How about you? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Did you meet your goals? I want to hear all about it!

NaNoWriMo – Let’s begin

Writing, Write, Person, Paperwork, Paper, Notebook

It’s November, and that means it’s the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).

I have always been captivated by NaNoWriMo. I’ve been following its social media pages for years, wanting to join in, but never feeling like I had the talent or the resources to start.

This year, I’ve decided to do it. I’ve decided that it’s time to start working on a book idea I’ve had for years — and I am so excited!

Wait. What is NaNoWriMo again?

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire the writing community, providing them with resources, community forums, workshops, seminars, and more. National Novel Writing Month started in 1999 with the challenge for writers to complete 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

Whew.

Scary, right?

It is. As someone who has never written a book before, I am very hesitant to get started. What if I don’t reach my goals? What if I can’t dedicate time to my book every day? What if it plain old sucks? How am I supposed to come out of this writing the next Water for Elephants or The Night Circus? Should I even do this?

The answer is yes. Yes, I should.

My goals

I realized that it’s not about what comes out my project, but what I make of it. I am closer to finishing this book than I’ve ever been before. I’ve drafted a storyline and characters. I’ve started sketching the first few chapters of the book, and hey, that’s something I am already proud of.

So, while I won’t realistically write 50,000 words by Dec. 1 (hey, anything can happen!), I do plan to write the first 5 chapters of the book by the end of the month. Between work, homeownership, pregnancy, and the holidays approaching, I am setting an achievable goal from the start.

I hope to write at least one hour a day, perhaps more on the weekends if my work schedule does not allow me to dedicate an hour on weeknights. I have a feeling I can achieve this goal, and, who knows? Maybe I’ll even surpass it!

I just want to write. I want to sit down and come up with a story. Even if it’s the worst story ever. Even if I sit there and go, “Ugh. What was I thinking?” That time will not be considered wasted. Writing creatively is something that I’ve missed doing, and to be able to create a story, craft dialogue, and sketch a world that I imagined is so rewarding.

Stories matter. I will do my best to remind myself that though it may not be perfect, I am flexing this creative muscle that I’ve wanted to exercise for years.

I am looking forward to this journey, and I plan to update my blog with milestones throughout the month. Maybe I’ll even share an excerpt or two?

Write on, creative nerds.

Anyone participating in NaNoWriMo? What project are you working on?