Achievement Unlocked: NaNoWriMo

So I wrote 50,064 words in November, logging them at the National Novel Writing Month website, http://www.nanowrimo.org. 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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