Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Only 56 Hours Left and 12,500 Words to Go - NaNoWriMo 2011

The Writer on Deadline

This year I took up the NaNoWriMo challenge (that's short for National Novel Writing Month) this year. Write a novel (50,000) words in 30 days. If you're not a writer, to put this in perspective, my first novel, Emily's House, is about 84,000 and it took me over two years to get to the end of the first draft.
To make it really interesting, NaNoWriMo hit the same month I released my first book, Emily's House. A sane person would probably decide that doing both the same month wasn't a good idea. But who said we writer-types are the most sane people?!
And to make it even more interesting, my daughter was out of school for five days straight for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a known fact that listening to the Disney channel and the Cartoon Network kills inspiration faster than alcohol kills brain cells.
No matter that it took me over two years to get to the end of the first draft of Emily's House. Or over a year to get to the end of the first draft of my second novel, H.A.L.F.
I figured that if I set my mind to it, I could do it. Hey, when I'm in the groove, I can write about 2000 words an hour. So only two hours a day times 30 days . . . I figured, I can even take some days off.
Here's what I learned this month. Some days it's hard to even find those two hours.
But I persevered and wrote whenever I could. And found out something important along the way.
When pressed to write every day, some days I just don't have much to say! This has come as a shock to me. I've never had writer's block. I've never been at a loss for words. 
But I've never forced myself to try to come up with words every day, day after day, for a solid month.
I'm at about 37,500 words, 12,500 to go and less than 3 days. The bad news is that's not a lot of time (especially when you consider that I have to work my "day job", take care of my family and eat and sleep).
But the GOOD news is that just last night I had the story epiphany I've been waiting for - the character and scene that I needed to pull it all together and juice it up. The inspiration I needed to push through and see how it all ends.
And I've been hearing from folks who have purchased Emily's House and they want Book 2! Having fans ask for more is a great kick in the pants to press on and keep writing.
Having a first draft is only the beginning, but oh, such an important beginning it is. I'm excited about Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles, born during a crazy NaNoWriMo month, and I'm looking forward to sharing Emily's Trial with all of you!
If you're a NaNoWriMo-er, how did you do this year? What is the best part of the WriMo experience for you? The worst? And will you do it again?

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