It’s the evening of November, 25 2012 and I’m so happy to say I’m a winner of NaNoWriMo 2012!
I have no clue where to start with this post, and I’m certain it’ll take me a few days to finish with everything I want to say, but I want to start while my feelings are raw and exciting.
At this very moment, I feel elated. I set forth on a goal and I accomplished it. There was a brief moment where I wish I had people all around me, cheering me, and grabbing the champagne, but I have to think that’s rare for NaNoWriMo’ers. Most of us who are on this journey are in our writing spaces, alone, and when it the word calculator hits 50k, we take a deep breath, and then let out a loud scream. Maybe I’m only speaking for myself, but that’s what happened here in my four seasons room in Stowe. Although, I do have to give a shout out to social media. As soon as I posted it to Twitter and Facebook, my phone was ringing with text messages and phone calls. People were cheering me on and giving me virtual high fives, which was just as special as people surrounding me in person. You guys have supported me and helped me reach this goal. I may have written the words, but it was the encouragement that gave me the energy to write all 50,000 words. The words sprints I did with Jennifer Gracen, Karen DeLabar, Janelle Jensen, and Andrew Butters were amazing! My very last sprint, the one that took me over 50k, was done with them right by my side and I wouldn’t have it any other way. All I can say is, thank you! I also have to thank my wonderful husband and best friend. With out his love and support, I couldn’t have done this. From the first time I told him I wanted to write a book, he’s been by my side, encouraging me to keep going. And when I told him I wanted to do NaNoWriMo, he immediately became my biggest chearleader. Thank you, Chris.
Okay, now to the guts of what NaNoWriMo has done for me, and keep in mind, this was my first time, so I had no clue what to expect. But, I have to say, I did do my homework. I read the NaNo’s website. I asked people who’s done it before a lot of questions. I read Chris Baty’s book No Plot, No Problem. If I was going to do this, I was going to do everything I could to set myself up to win. If I went into it blind, and on a whim, it wouldn’t happen. I plotted and planned… plain and simple, but it wasn’t easy. I’ve never had a game plan for a book before. I’ve always written by the seat of my pants, but once I got started, it flowed, and I could see a whole book in front of me. That alone, excited me and I knew I had something to work off of.
So, that brings me to the first thing I learned from NaNo… I can plan ahead. I’ve always considered myself as a panster, someone who writes off the cuff and writes whatever comes at the moment. Now I see I can mix the two together. I can plan my writer’s map, knowing once I start writing the story, the panster in me will show herself and will surely take me off the path, but with the map, I can get back on track. I noticed with NaNo I didn’t spend days searching for something to write. Yes, some days were a lot harder than others, but as a whole, the map I created kept me focused.
This brings me to the second thing I learned… when I get stuck, just write, and don’t edit! I’ve finally learned how to get the story written without editing myself every five sentences. I had to repeat to myself, ALOUD, “Don’t worry about it. You can fix it later. Write now. Edit later.” I said those words no fewer than a hundred times over the last 25 days. As soon as I thought about reading over what I just wrote, I’d pull myself away from the computer. I would talk out loud to myself about the plot as I took out the dogs, put away the dishes, did the laundry, watched a little TV… anything to keep me from editing. Once I was able get my thoughts together, I’d start wherever I left off and made it happen, even if I didn’t feel 100% about it. And by the way, the preparing and reading I did before got me through those moments. Pushing through, and staying on track, allowed me to write freely. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true.
Lastly, I learned the biggest and best thing ever… I CAN! I CAN do what I put my mind to. I CAN do all the things I thought I’d never be able to do as a writer. I CAN write 50,000 words in one month. I CAN write.
It’s amazing what one challenge can do for you, whether it be NaNoWriMo, or a quiet challenge you set for yourself. When you set forth, prepare, and allow yourself the opportunity to win, you will. You’ll learn more than you think. You’ll appreciate the gift you have inside of you. You’ll know no boundaries and everything is possible. I know it sounds cliche and corny, but it’s true. I’m sitting here, feeling it, and I know I’m not alone.
I want to end this post with a definition of my favorite word, PASSION.
Now, used in a sentence: I strongly feel that I can barely control my outburst of writing.
I’ve always had a passion for writing, and in the last four years, I’ve learned so much. I may not be the best writer out there, and I have no clue where this journey is going to take me, but I do know I will always keep my passion for the written word. If I lose the passion, there’s no story. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
I thank NaNoWriMo for teaching me so much in just one month and I look forward to seeing where these 50,000 words will take me.
Until next time…