Achievement Unlocked: NaNoWriMo

So I wrote 50,064 words in November, logging them at the National Novel Writing Month website, Writing more than 50,000 words means that you “win” National Novel Writing Month. What do you “win”? Bragging rights, of course! Naturally, I have to show off my badge:

As the bags under my eyes can testify, I earned this!!

Do I have a finished, submission-ready novel? Definitely not. In fact, I stalled out on the novel mid-month and pivoted to writing several short stories instead. But the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to buckle down and crank out the words. The words can be edited later.

I had never written anything even close to 50k words in a month. Up to now, I’d only written short stories, a handful of essays, and the occasional not-too-sucky poem. It was a crazy ride and a lot of late nights, but it was worth it.

An author I met through a “flash mentoring” session earlier this year suggested I try NaNoWriMo. If it weren’t for her, I might not have tried it. If it weren’t for the pandemic, which meant no Thanksgiving travel, I might not have tried it. If it weren’t for my online writers’ groups, which is where I first learned about it, I might not have tried it. But I’ve risen to other writing challenges and got a lot out of them. So I tried it.

By about the third week, I was determined to succeed, sneaking in writing sprints at random times of the day, setting my alarm early to write even more, my night owl nature be damned.

Lessons learned: I wrote a novel-length quantity of words in a month while being a parent and working a full-time job. If I can do that once, I can do it again. The novel I worked on last month may not be the novel I ultimately finish. I have one or two others in my head. And now I’m a notch more confident that I can actually write a whole novel one day. Thanks NaNoWriMo, and to all the other writers who’ve been part of my world so far – I couldn’t have done this without you.

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