I just won NaNo! What’s that you say? Why yes, it is the very last day of the month, but that’s not what counts. What matters is that I set this goal to write 50,000 words in one month, and I did it!
My local writing group knows I love to start new stories. I’m really good at first chapters, and even seconds and thirds. Short stories, poems, essays? Totally! But I’ve never attempted a whole novel. I’m easily distracted with shiny new story ideas.
The more I learned about fiction writing and novel structure, the more I wanted to give it a try. Then the doubts set in. Could I write an entire novel? Did I have the stamina? The perseverance?
I owe my success today in large part to a local writing conference I attended where a presenter taught how to set goals and make them happen. Namely it came down to making an actual contract with yourself, setting up rewards and consequences, and recruiting people to check on you throughout the process. The stick, and the carrot, for all us little bunnies.
This worked beautifully for me, and since I won, I don’t have to go scrub out my husband’s work car. Yes, the stakes were high! 🙂
My husband and my kiddos were also a huge part of making this happen. If I succeeded, there was a reward for the kids too–a fun night out, so that helped, but I think they would have done it anyway. Carving so much time for writing out of my days wasn’t easy, and they really picked up the slack.
The best part is that this last week my kids, ages 6-15, have literally begged me to read them a chapter or two from my manuscript each night before bed. It is an upper Middle Grade book, designed for ages 10-14, so it has been perfect to share with them. Their enthusiasm reminds me why I’m doing this.
My word count goal for this novel is more like 60,000 words, as it is science fiction, so I still have about 10,000 to go. And lots of editing! But, I never would have been motivated to push myself this far without the NaNo challenge.
Now that I’ve established a daily writing habit, I plan to keep it up. Perhaps not for as much time, but every little bit gets you one step closer, right? December is going to be a recovery month, filled with family, white sparkly Christmas lights and hot cocoa!