It’s been almost a year since I wrote my first novel thanks to Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month—writing 50K words in one month). Correction, a year since I finished my first complete rough draft of a novel. I have started novels and stories that I have (and possibly never will) finish. I have had ideas which fizzled out around 30 pages into writing them. I’ve had incredible exciting starts that seemed so promising and then went terribly wrong, leaving me feeling hopeless. I have had others that just left me wondering “What is my point?” And I know if I am wondering it, so are my readers.
This year, I have worked on writing dazzling sentences and studied plots until my butt fell asleep in the chair. I have tried just writing and writing until I can’t even think of another word. For the first time in my life, I’ve gone to some writing groups. I’ve also worked on polishing my first promising short story and submitted it twice between revisions. I have entered contests and taken actual creative writing type classes. But mostly, I have written. Over the last year, I feel I have learned more than I did in four years of college.
So, now that a year has passed, I am about to tackle Nanowrimo, again. While I am a bit nervous, as always, I am also excited by all the possibilities of what comes out of the rush to 50K. I am grateful for all I have learned this year, especially as I made two attempts at noveling this year and watched both projects crumble before my eyes. I learned what didn’t work for me as a writer and while I am still learning what does work for me as a writer and a novelist, I am currently closer than I have ever been before and that is exciting to my little nerdy heart.
I have been digging deeper into my character, my story and even myself as I prepare to write my 50K. In a workshop recently, I was writing about this process and after analyzing what I wrote, I realized that I now have more tools, more experience, and more knowledge than the last time I succeeded at this. Even though in some ways the work is getting harder, it is also getting easier. I am learning and improving and growing in my craft and nothing makes me happier.
I have a good handle now on my protagonist/Lead/main character and her backstory. The majority of the other characters are in place with their own motives and the setting is mostly solidified though I think I am going to use a made-up place. The plot and theme are solid. I still have more work to do and luckily I have a week and a half to solidify the basic ideas. I have the support of the local Nanowrimo group and the support of the writer’s group I am in. I have scheduled the time to write and have been working on getting the house super clean for my disappearance during the month of November.
I am grateful for this journey and blessed to be able to do what I love and not just exist. I believe that this dream is finally coming to pass and that I just have to keep working hard at it. I am grateful for finally learning to finish things and allowing myself to edit more thoroughly than I ever have. I am grateful that I have made writing a daily habit as my doing so has leveled up my writing more than anything else besides reading. I have accomplished more in the last two years of writing than I did in the last quarter of a century of merely dreaming and only writing when inspiration hits.
Keep leveling up.