Friday, December 9, 2011


“Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?” I heard some people asking each other in my writing class a few years ago. I had no clue what they were talking about so I eavesdropped so more. I soon learned that NaNoWriMo stood for National Novel Writing Month which happens to be November. It sounded insane to me—write a novel in a month.

Write a novel in a month? Fifty thousand words, to be exact. (1,666 words per day) As a true procrastinator I’ve never even written a novel in a year or make that all of my 51 years. I was always afraid to start one because it might not be perfect and I probably wouldn’t finish it anyway.

So this year I signed up for NaNoWriMo. (I even gave a modest donation to help this nonprofit that promotes writing.) And on November 1, 2011, I started to write.

I wrote and I wrote. I didn’t make the daily word goal every day but I didn’t give up. I wrote before and after school daily and for hours on the weekends. Unfortunately I “lost” some writing days due to Thanksgiving but it was worth it, the feasting was delicious!

Some days the story just flowed from my fingertips to my keyboard. Other days I struggled. Those were the times that my main character got hit by a car, was sickened with food poisoning, and got the flu. I laughed as I typed and I cried. It was amazing how emotionally involved I got with my characters. I imagined my fourth graders reading my words. I kept it clean—rated a mild PG. There’s no bad language or nudity, but it is a bit scary and sad due to the ghosts and orphans.

Now that November has ended in one big flurry of typing, I have a 50,013 word manuscript to work with. It’s not great, but I did it. It was painful at times. Especially the day I typed 8,000 words. My teddy bear shaped ice packs came in real handy that day.

I’m letting my manuscript “rest” for a while. I’ll probably start editing it in January. I know it will be a lot of work but I actually can’t wait! I’m so proud of what I accomplished so far.

The bottom line? Even when you think you can’t do something, just do it. You might just surprise yourself.

Have you ever done something you thought you couldn’t do but did? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

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