Last year – 2014 – I jumped into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) pool for the first time, and promptly pulled myself out after a serious cramp. My favorite aunt had just died from cancer and the grief process was too strong. Every time I sat down at the desk I was either overwhelmed by tears or paralyzed by the dread Inner Editor. (It also didn’t help that I was pretty bruised from a series of employment setbacks.)
Total word count: 3400.
This year I wanted to try again. While I didn’t have a strong outline for a novel, I did have plenty of rough story drafts and writing prompts clogging up my hard drive. So I set the goal of finishing/revising 5 short stories so I could fill the hopper on my personal Submission Machine.
I also had a SECRET GOAL.
November came and went, and I wrote. And edited. And struggled. Business as usual. There were also mundane reality challenges : short project deadlines at work, my mother celebrated a Significant Birthday, a house guest, plus the whole Thanksgiving thing. (Suggestion: can’t we move NaNoWriMo to some dead month, like March?)
Total word count – 19,303 words. ALMOST 20K. Not even CLOSE to 50K.
Did I finish 5 stories? Again, ALMOST. I worked on 6 stories, overall. Four are basically finished. All need revision.
However, I completed my SECRET GOAL.
I wrote EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not a lot. Some days it was only a few lines, or perhaps a paragraph. But I carried my laptop with me everywhere, and found some mental space to be a writer.
It’s hard to admit, but it’s the longest stretch I’ve ever managed. 30 days.
Did I win NaNoWriMo? Yeah, I think I did. Next year might be even better.
Whatever the outcome, I couldn’t have done it without my tribe. Thank you.