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NaNoWriMo 2013: I’m Finally Back

December 13, 2013

This year was my third NaNoWriMo and it confirmed that NaNo will be a life-long tradition.


NaNo noveling has helped shape my writing life in ways I never expected.  In 2010, NaNo helped me to finish my first novel (first draft anyway) which was a revelation and a wake up call. I was a finisher for the first time since I outgrew fan fiction. In 2011, I learned how to continue to plot as I made discoveries about my characters along the way. I also worked out some personal issues with that novel which really helped to heal my heart and free my writing from old cobwebbed shadows. And 2012 was skipped due to my third successive move in five months at the beginning of November. My writing this last year has suffered and I know it is due to not pushing my boundaries with NaNoWriMo. Never again.

So I entered this year’s NaNoWriMo with low expectations, finally writing my old “great golden idea” from high school, which I was certain would be a throw away novel just like every NaNo novel has been. Even so, this November gave me much more than could have expected. For the first time, I wasn’t scrambling for plot to fill up the last ten thousand words, instead passing 50K before the plot had ended, finishing NaNo’s word goal a day early (miracle of miracles!). I’ve learned a lot about my process and how to handle pressure. I wrote scenes that might be usable in later drafts (completely unheard of as I write terribly messy discovery drafts). And some of the writing was actually good. I wasn’t planning to revise, as I use NaNo as more of an experimental period than anything. But this story took hold of me and is demanding a rewrite. Possibly a musical but most definitely a rewrite.

Most importantly of all, I’ve found confidence when facing the blank page. Even now, my stomach bunches in tight knots in the hour leading up to writing time every day. But the physical signs of anxiety I feel are no longer overwhelming. I doubt they will ever go away completely but now I can at least get them to sit in the corner quietly while I get my work done. I have momentum for the first time in forever. My writing well is full of inspiration, ideas and hope so bright I can almost imagine away the frigid temperatures outside. Almost.

I owe a lot of my success this November to all my writing friends that took the journey with me. They were fierce competition this year, most of them beating me to the finish line, but straggling behind them still pulled me forward. And to the rest of my friends and acquaintances who commented and liked my status updates on Facebook, it meant the world to me. Thank you for letting me ignore you in November. I’m finally back.

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