This year, I threw my hat into the NaNoWriMo ring for the first time. I felt starry-eyed and excited. I’ve considered myself an author for several years now, but never took part National Novel Writing Month. However, I felt that it’d be a way to further cement my transition from a fanfiction writer to an original writer. So, I assembled a world to explore and jumped in November 1st.
What’s happened so far has been one of the most rewarding and yet most difficult parts of my budding career as an author so far. I’m behind in my word count (quite alarmingly so in fact), but I’ve also leaped ahead in some remarkable ways. If you’re at all interested at participating in the future, or if you’re a fellow NaNoWriMo participant and want to see how others are doing, I’d like to share some of the challenges I’ve faced and the rewards I’ve reaped.
I had heard people talk before about how crazy NaNoWriMo can be. When I went to my local group (NaNOrlando, who I’ll talk more about later) I heard about the challenges ahead. I laughed it off though, it can’t be THAT hard! All I needed was to discipline myself, use that hour or two of free time I have each day, and I’d be fine!
How naive and foolish Two-Week-Ago David was.
Working in a professional environment means that a good chunk of my day goes to spreadsheets and graphic design and business writing. Of course, I enjoy my position and the career track I’m heading for. Yet it does often leave me tired and beat at the end of the day.
Then I want to practice my Spanish, exercise, read a book, paint… I might want to get out of the house for a movie, or HAVE to get out of the house for a grocery trip. Scheduling the time to write every day is far trickier than I had foreseen. Even in the time I do carve out, if I’m exhausted (which I often am) I’m not as productive.
That’s just the regular schedule though! The craze of the 2018 midterm elections left me drained on both the day I cast my early ballot and the actual day of the elections themselves. And while I will be celebrating Thanksgiving on my own, I can only imagine the hectic craze of the holiday as people come together. These blips can easily steal a day of writing away. Then the catch-up begins.
To be sure I’ve had some obstacles and rough patches so far, with only my measly 12.1k word count to show for it. So why am I still doing it?
The Rewards of NaNoWriMo
Those twelve thousand words I’ve written in the past two weeks? That’s still a remarkable improvement over what I’ve managed up to this point. Even if I’m behind by more than fifty percent, I’ve still increased my writing output dramatically.
Plus, I’m not giving up on meeting that fifty thousand word count. Like I said, I will have Thanksgiving on my own. That’s a four-day weekend to write as much as I can! I’ll be spending quite a bit of time plugging away at my manuscript then.
Even if in the end I fall short, I won’t see it as a failure. I’ve oriented my life in a better direction because of NaNoWriMo. My writing has taken a higher priority in my day-to-day routine. And the community… I’ve met wonderful people through NaNOrlando, my local region. I’ve made friends out of fellow authors and found a group that I’m happy to be a part of.
So yes, NaNoWriMo has been tricky and difficult so far for me. Yet I wouldn’t ever trade that time away. I have no regrets, and I’m ready to make the next fifteen days even better.