and you know what that means! It’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month).
I nearly always participate in NaNo, and it’s always a good motivator to get a chunk of writing done on some work-in-progress. Knowing that I can track my daily wordcount and compare it to others who are doing the same, and that we writers can cheer each other on, somehow gets me fired up to work on a project and find those extra minutes and hours in my busy day.
I’ve been doing NaNo since 2003, and blogging about it here since I started this blog in 2006. That year, I was writing a novel called Sunrise Hope. Next year, that novel is going to be released by Review and Herald, my Christian publisher.
Five years from NaNo draft to publication seems like a long time, but that’s the business. My 2003 NaNovel was Deborah and Barak, which was released three years later in 2006. The other books I’ve worked on during subsequent NaNoWriMos haven’t all been published, or accepted for publication. Some of them are sitting on the back burner, waiting till I’m at the right place mentally to give them another overhaul. But the process is always worth it. It gives me the bulk of a rough draft in 30 days, and that’s wonderful, because it means I have raw material to work with.
In this case, I’ve been fooling around for months with a historical novel set in Newfoundland at the turn of the 20th century. I’ve researched, I’ve written some early chapters, I’ve even developed a synopsis, which is quite unusual for me. But for months now the book has languished at about 15,000 words. I just didn’t have space and time to focus on it.
In the first five days of November, I’ve added 10,000 words to that total. By the end of the month I’ll have the bulk of a first draft done. That’s the gift of NaNoWriMo. It gives me permission to put writing first in my busy life, which I don’t usually do. It gives me the motivation of thousands of other writers — some of them real-life friends of mine — posting their daily word counts and cheering each other on. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.