If you’re looking for a post full of ideas on how to cram an entire novel into one month, this is not that post. I haven’t a clue how to finish. I can’t even tell you how it is that I finished Child Eater in 2011. I sat down every day that I could, and Tabitha told me her story. That is all I know.
Tabitha’s story was supposed to continue. I had plans for a number two. Possibly even a three and a who knows?. I was excited to sit down and try for number two when November rolled around in 2012. I was also working on Bully Troubles at the same time. I thought, “No big deal. I’ll set ‘Bully Troubles’ aside and work on my NaNoWriMo.”
Only, that’s not what happened. Bully Troubles kept on calling to me. I kept answering. Soon, Thanksgiving rolled around, and I hadn’t even made it to the halfway point. Holidays for the family cook who truly loves to prepare holiday meals and desserts can be very busy. My son’s birthday also falls in November. Needless to say, it’s already a busy month. I finished Bully Troubles around the time of NaNoWriMo 2012, but I didn’t manage to get far from the starting line on that NaNoWriMo novel.
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Bully Troubles was released in 2013. That is the last book I released. I didn’t know it then, but there were things in our life that were starting to crumble. Soon, they would come crashing down around us.
They kept selling our mortgage behind our backs, and while allegedly nothing changed — same terms and rates — our monthly bill kept increasing. When we could no longer afford the insane payments, we lost our home to foreclosure. Our story is not unique, and I will waste no more time on it.
I’d set my writing aside. I’d gone back to school to learn the skills necessary to get a “real” job. My 4.0 GPA was not enough to land me a job. Though I had many interviews, I didn’t find work. Not right away. When I finally found a job, it wasn’t necessarily using my certifications, but those certifications did get me a pay boost from day one and a managerial position within the first few months that I was working there.
I spent years out there in the “real” world doing more job hunting than actually working. When I was working, the crazy hours I kept — mostly opposite that of my husband and kids — had me feeling worn out, left out, and stressed out to the max. It did not leave me any time or energy for writing. It sucked.
“Being honest, it is October 30th, and I haven’t even a clue what my first sentence will be. I have no chosen topic or genre. My only goal is to find healing in my writing. If I succeed in creating a beautiful piece of work, great, but if it’s all broken prose that’s better fit for the garbage, that will be okay, too.”
When I sat down to begin my 2017 NaNoWriMo writing, I had no plan, I had no story. Most of all, I hadn’t written anything in years! You can see from my goal that I was looking to find healing in the writing process.
That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t hoping to land so deep in a story that it spun out of my fingers like gold from the miller’s daughter’s spinning wheel. I’m a writer, I’m allowed to dream towards the fantastical. It’s sort of in the job description.
Truth is, that’s not what happened. I had days that my writing flowed. I worked on a lot of little short stories that were unrelated to the NaNoWriMo I was supposed to be writing. At least I was writing something. For the record, it was all garbage not worth sharing. That’s okay. I was writing again.
You never know where your NaNoWriMo will take you.
I won’t be participating this year. I considered it. I thought about setting aside Once Upon a Time in Iowa and working on a little something that’s been tickling at my brain. Considering how well that worked out for me in 2012, I decided it’s probably for the best if I just stick to my current WIP. I will be trying to push my word count. Maybe I can still complete a novel in November.
About the only piece of advice that I can give to you is to let NaNoWriMo take you wherever it will. If you finish, great! If you get started, that’s awesome, too. Sometimes, NaNoWriMo will bring you a book, sometimes it will only give you a skeleton. There is even a chance it gives you nothing but garbage. Whatever the outcome, know that it was part of your journey. We each have our own path to take, and our destinations aren’t always the same.
Good luck to all the 2018 NaNoWriMo participants! May your muse remain glued to your side the whole month through.