Nowhere near the finish line

I was postponing this shameful moment, having to confess that I was not even close to 50K words on my novel in November (for nanowrimo). About halfway through, I read an encouraging note that suggested writers set their own goals – 1,000 words a day or 25K for the month. I felt better and adjusted the barometer of my expectations. I had well over 8,000 words at that point and thought a goal of 25K words was a respectable one.

Now that it’s over, I am tempted to offer excuses (and I have several) but I won’t. I debated whether to or not to blog about how it all turned out. My decision was made when I read an email from Chris Angotti, Director of Programs at NaNoWriMo. This excerpt encouraged me immensely:

“Sometimes a story won’t behave, sometimes time is at even more of a premium than usual, sometimes life just gets in the way: these are all perfectly fine reasons you and I may not have reached 50,000 words this past month.

No matter how far we made it, we claimed the brave mantle of “Novelist.” By signing into our site, we declared our intentions to put something new into the world. And we worked—every day, every other day, once a week, or even just a few days in the month—to make it happen.

Here in the office, we’re proud of all those finished first drafts out there—but we’re even more proud of the number of writers who attempt them each year. Getting even the first word down on paper is a vital, impressive first step.

So, a freaking giant high-five for all of us.”

Nice, right? But I don’t want to let myself off the hook entirely, so I thought about what I learned from this experience – attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in one month (November 2013).

  1. To even try was an extremely optimistic thing for a struggling pessimist like myself (thanks for your encouragement, Beth and Vicky!)
  2. Writing is a craft – we improve it by doing it
  3. I wrote 3 stories and 4 blog posts in November too – and some were pretty good
  4. A story evolves as it is written – it is clarified, refined and unfolds in its own way and time
  5. The 15,840 words I wrote by November 30, 2013 are a good start to “The First Half” – a story about an ordinary woman who experiences something extraordinary that changes her life. The emotional aftershock leads her to discover surprising truths as she examines the jigsaw-puzzle pieces of her life, and the unusual ways key events fit together to make her the person she is. Her journey encompasses healing and freedom; endings and new beginnings. Come, walk with her…

In conclusion, I found out that there are two events sponsored by the NaNoWriMo group – called Camp NaNoWriMo – held in April and July. I will pick up my story then…

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About verawrites

Progress not perfection - that's my goal. Live and learn - that's my motto. I like to share bits of wisdom and glimmers of insight gleaned on my life journey of 50+ years. My hope is to encourage, perhaps inspire, fellow journeyers. Each of us has something to share. Let's be generous, gracious and compassionate with one another. I am blessed to be a blessing... so are you!
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2 Responses to Nowhere near the finish line

  1. bethbyrnes says:

    Imho, these challenges are merely to break the ice, so to speak, to get us going toward the goal. I think stories take on a life of their own and you will have periods when it writes itself and others that are the mind regrouping. Hard to write around the holidays, too! They should put this in April, for new beginnings, not November. You are a good writer Vera, so, you will write and people will read, have no fear :-).

    • verawrites says:

      Thanks Beth. It’s true, if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t have started. Now that I got the ball rolling, I can keep it going. I was inspired by an exchange with a fellow writer on LinkedIn, so I posted a link to this post, and in the process coined a phrase: Failure is not trying. Trying and not succeeding is practice for success 🙂 One of my self-coaching lines is: Writers write, so I do!

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