This month, I participated in an online project called NaNoWriMo. If you have never heard of this, it stands for 'National Novel Writing Month'. Each November, people all over the world commit to the effort of writing at least 50, 000 words. The intent is for novelists to get a jump start on that book they long to complete one day.
Years ago, when my babies were very small, my husband's aunt, a lifelong writer, mentioned that she would be MIA in November so she could be part of NaNoWriMo. That sounded suspicious to me, but I did not investigate further. At the time, though a lifelong writer myself, I was not in the frame of mind to sit down and crank out a novel rough draft. About all I could crank out were tears and just enough breast milk for the babies.
Fast forward to now, when I have been involved with a small writing group of ladies I have known and gotten to know in the past couple of years. Each time we meet, I would talk about the four book outlines I have, and how I have a few sample essays or chapters on paper. They encouraged me and never made me feel bad if I did not move a step forward from one meeting to the next. Unconditional support.
Finally, this year I felt that my kids were in a place where I could actually start thinking instead of simply going about the rote business of every day and merely surviving. So I started organizing the files I already had journaled and published, paying attention to the goals I stated in writing group. Little by little I began to realized I could actually cobble something together.
Just before November began, I looked into what the project was all about, and made an 11th hour decision to sign up for NaNoWriMo. One of my writing group ladies had done it last year, and was participating again this year. Once November got underway, I felt pressure. I cannot say that I technically wrote 50,000+ words this month. But the combination of what I had already written, plus what I added, actually amassed just over that threshold.
This last day, I reviewed my manuscript, and adding and deleting, and furtively updating my word count, I felt like squealing when the number hit. I entered the entire text to have my efforts validated officially by the NaNoWriMo website, and this popped up!
While it's an 'on your honor' system, and theoretically you could type in the same word 50,000 times, it was kind of cool to see it happen.
I had foregone food today, save for a necessary cup of coffee and some oatmeal. I was suddenly famished and had to pee, but I had to run out the door to pick up the kids. While waiting in the pick-up line, I had time to reflect a little. I felt good about this. I also felt like I had only scratched the surface, and that it is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. It is in need of so much refinement, but I have a giant jump start to something that really matters to me.
I am not the typical NaNoWriMo participant, as, like I mentioned, its intention is for novelists. I am considered a 'rebel' by their definitions. The support is there for anyone who wants it, but I am not surprised I fall into that category. I always stick out like a sore thumb. Always have probably always will. After this month of writing I now have a sore brain to go with it. I also have far more than I had 30 days ago. It was 200 pages when I printed it to a PDF. NOw I need new goals.