I did it. On November 1st I embarked on a writing adventure unlike anything I’ve done before. I took the pledge to write 50,000 words in one month. I took this photo a moment after I validated my novel online and I cried. The feeling of accomplishment washed over me. I won! I want to remember this moment for the moments that it doesn’t seem possible because now I know that it is.
My goal when I set out was to write a fictional story in 50,000 words. I did not known if I could do it. I wasn’t sure how I would balance my life as it is and write every day. To achieve the goal you must write at least 1667 words a day. Could I do it? I wanted to try. But I also wanted to learn about myself as a writer. What time of the day was best for me? How could I fit writing into my life, everyday?
I learned a lot. I learned that it was possible. But more than that I learned that it was hard. Really HARD. There were a couple of times when my inner voice tried to stop me. My story isn’t good enough. I’m not good enough. I can’t do this. What’s the point? Will anyone read it? Will they like it? I didn’t listen to to that voice for longer than a minute or maybe five. I kept writing.
I don’t have a laptop. I have a computer on an old sewing table in our dining room. Some nights I just wanted to lie in bed and write and I couldn’t. Nighttime is when I had time to write and that was also difficult at first because after a full day I was often exhausted. But I did it anyway. Some nights I didn’t make the goal of 1667 words. And some nights I went beyond that goal, especially towards the end of the month when I had to play catch up (over 3000 one night!). Out of 30 days there were only 2 that I didn’t write. 2. I was also taking a writing class through mid-November, so on those nights I did my writing in a journal and the next day I typed it up and continued on.
I found myself getting into a rythm. I’d take a shower after the kids were asleep and think about my characters while washing my hair. By the time I sat down at the computer (after getting Seb’s stuff ready for school the next day and finishing up chores, et al) I had a place to start writing for the night and I’d just go for about two hours. There were a few mornings while Tallula was at play school that I’d get a half hour or so mixed in with my errands and other obligations of the morning. I loved having time to writing in the morning. I felt quick and more on point. Even when I’d get into a groove in the evening my energy would wane toward the end.
Ali would give me time to write during the day on the weekends by taking the kids to the library or for a walk. My mom came to town during the last weekend of the month and baked cookies and did art projects with the kids. I loved that the kids saw me writing. They knew I was writing a BIG story. And my writing made them want to write too. Sometimes Tallula would set up with the iPad and key board and type away next to me. Sebastian would do Mad Lib stories using his communication book for vocab.
Since I’ve finished NaNoWriMo I’ve had two evenings ‘off’. I do appreciate not feeling the pressure to sit at the computer – no matter what- when I really just want to lay on the couch. BUT I miss my story! And my characters. And I’m not finished. I did write the ending and I’m on my way there. There are still a few things I need for the main character to get there. And there’s notes throughout my draft of things I want to add. And I will. Starting, tomorrow.
I’ve really appreciated all of the encouragement and celebratory comments I’ve received. Thank you! Some of you have asked what the story is about – it’s fictional!- and when you can read it – I don’t know that yet. But I hope one day not too far in the future.