I will start with an apology for not posting for the last month or so... You see, I had decided (last minute) to participate in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, it is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month. The 'goal' of NaNo is to write 50,000 words in the month of November on a new novel. I'm going to confess a few things. One, I did not start a new novel for NaNo. Two, I did not reach 50,000 words for the month. Three, I didn't even reach 50,000 words total for my novel so far. However, I feel like a Winner. I may not be able to 'legally' win for the purposes of NaNoWriMo, but there were many things I learned that make me a Winner in my mind and NaNo a great thing for me to have done.
I started with a novel of around 22,000 words. I have been working on it, off and on, for two years or more...maybe even three! (Wow, it's been longer than I remember!) I have been really excited about it and enjoying the little time I had to write. In ONE MONTH I almost doubled that wordcount! I wrote just under 20,000 words total during November. How can I NOT be a winner with a novel that is now over 40,000 words???
It was really great to learn of all the time I actually had to write during the day. Having an impossible goal caused me to rearrange my life so that I could make time where there wasn't time before. Granted, I will probably not have any large chunks of time in which to write until the twins start full day school in, like, 4 years. I needed to use the little chunks of time that I had. It used to take me a long time to get into my character and time to come out of my character, which makes even two hours seem very short. I now get into my character a lot faster so I can maximize my writing time. I kept my novel on the back burner of my mind all the time. That was a really great discovery. I kept thinking that I didn't have time to write at this point in my life. "Maybe someday" became my mindset. Granted, I probably don't have time to write 50,000 words in a month, but even in a month that contained all three kids getting a stomach virus and travelling to Colorado for Thanksgiving I came close to 20,000. That's amazing. If I did that every month, I could be finished in a few more months! Finished! It could happen. It's not in the 'maybe someday' category anymore, it's in the 'baby steps' category. A little at a time and it could be done. That is my Win for NaNoWriMo.
Another Win was meeting local authors. I really needed a community here where I could talk about my writing, and I didn't know anyone. Now I know a few people. Sure, I don't know them well, but maybe it'll turn into a writing group or something. That would be totally awesome for me. We had a lot of fun at our meet ups and I'm super excited about continuing them after NaNo.
Finally, I just want to encourage you in your "maybe someday" category. Sure, maybe some of those aren't doable right now, but maybe some of them are. Maybe you need to take a hard look at where you're spending your time and where you want to spend it. Do you find yourself wasting time? Set yourself a goal that seems really high, but just maybe possible. 50,000 words is only 1,667 words a day. That wasn't so impossible as to be really impossible it was just highly unlikely but maybe possible. I even had a couple of days where I made that goal. More shocking to me was the 'word wars' we would have during meet ups. I could do 400 or so words in 15 minutes (I was always one of the slowest). But that number puts the rest of the numbers into perspective for me. Does that mean I can write 1600 words in an hour...not that I know of, but maybe I could be more productive with my time. Instead of checking one more website or my twitter feed again or facebook or turning on the tv to see what's on or whatever the distraction is...maybe I can use that time to take a baby step toward my goal. What is your goal and what might you do now to take some baby steps toward it? Get moving. Have fun.