If it seemed like I didn’t blog much in November, it’s because I didn’t. At all. At the end of October I went on a lovely vacation with my mom and grandma to Florida. When I got back, I jumped head-first into November and NaNoWriMo.
30 days. 50,000 words. Go.
Don’t know what NaNo is? NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November and I always want to do it, but never actually follow through and do it. I use the excuse that November is a crazy busy month for me, and that adding another thing is just silly. I said I didn’t have time to write or didn’t know what to write. So instead I wrote nothing. This year, I decided enough was enough as far as excuses went. Instead, I just decided to do it and see what happened.
So, in November, i wrote (the beginnings of) a book. Is it a finished book? Not a bit. Is it ready for other people to read? NOPE! Is it something I will keep working on and hopefully improving upon and maybe someday, just maybe, share with others? Maybe.
So, why did I succeed this year when I had failed so many times before? There were a lot of reasons. Here are just a few.
I stressed less. I have this feeling when I sit down to write that it has to be perfect. I have to choose just the right words to write every time. I have to have a clear image of what the story will be and where it will go. If I don’t have it all figured out before November 1st rolls around, I don’t write. Anything. This time, I just opened up a document and went with the ideas I’d been throwing around for a bit.
I didn’t worry about the end product. I know my book is not ready for publication. There are definite places in it where, instead of actual content, it says something like “NEEDS MORE CONTENT HERE.” Obviously NOT ready for publication. But instead of stopping when the writing got tough, I simply skipped where I was struggling and moved on. It will take some work and research to fill in the holes, but that work is better than just throwing in the towel.
I didn’t love everything I wrote. There are scenes that are awkward and moments that are confusing to me as the writer. While I’m tempted to leave them in to see if Beta Readers understand the point I was trying to get across, I won’t. I’ll polish and change. And then I still won’t love everything because there are parts of this book that make me mad as a reader and sad as a reader.
I let some stuff go. I only have so many hours in a day. I work. I have a husband and a dog. I have friends. There is a holiday in the middle of all that, too. I wrote when I should have been doing other things like cleaning and walking and working out. And, that’s okay. Maybe not forever, but to prove to myself that I could do this, it was worth it. The NaNoWriMo pace isn’t designed to be forever; it’s just designed to be a sprint that gets you writing! And, you know what? It worked.
I relied on the support of others. My husband. My friends. My co-workers. Other NaNo participants. The Bloomington NaNo group. Even an author I adore cheered me on. I posted updated counts on social media not to brag, but to get the support and gladly cheered on other people. I celebrated reaching milestones and didn’t stress when I didn’t write for a few days. I didn’t to do this in secret, but way out in the open for everyone to see. Because writing a book in a month is something you can’t do in secret, unless you’re a hermit.
I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Turns out, writing a book requires one thing above all others – just putting words to the page. It’s like the training I did for the mini. Sometimes it requires you to put one foot in front of the other just keep going. Writing is much the same way. Just put one word behind the other and keep writing. The words will come.
I had faith in myself. Instead of writing the Great American Novel, I just wrote a book. A fun book influenced by authors I love and stories I like to read. I wrote something that, in the end, I will be proud of because I did it. Even if nothing else ever comes of it. I wrote a story once in middle school and haven’t really written much of length since then. Right now, I’m just happy that the words came and the story is beginning to take shape.
Synopsis: Callisa Grace Berry is learning the family business, but it’s not as easy as you might think. Callisa and her brother, Max, can see through outer appearances and into the heart of people. They clean up the streets and destroy the wicked before they destroy innocent lives. But when Callisa meets Brody, she is forced to look at her own heart and examine the truth that she has always been told. Is the gift the Berry family has a blessing or a curse?
You see, here’s the thing about my family. For as long as there are records, we have had a gift – and a responsibility. You know how you can look at someone and think that there is something off about them? Maybe it’s that they won’t look you in the eye. Maybe it’s because they seem nervous. Maybe it’s because, for some reason, they just give you the creeps. You feel like there is something not right about them, but you don’t know what it is, right? Well, our gift is like that, only with less room for error.
All it takes is one look and we know. You’re either good or evil. Light or dark. Full or empty. There is no gray area when a Berry looks into your heart. We know things about you don’t even know about yourself. We see your future, and your past. We see the bad decisions you almost made and the love you found instead. We protect the good, and we are merciless with the evil.
We are the protectors. And we never make mistakes.
I’m still excited about this book. Even after a month of insanity, I can’t wait to get back to it and refine it. I’m calling NaNoWriMo a Win!