Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Latest Challenge

I mentioned in my last post that I was taking part in a new challenge.
What could be more challenging than writing a book?

Try writing half a book in one month.
That’s the challenge for November.  It is National Novel Writing Month or, as writers know it: NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo all about?  It happens every year in November.  New writers get involved.  Seasoned writers get involved.  The challenge is to write at least 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November.  It breaks down to an average of 1,667 words every day.
I had already made up my mind earlier in the year to join the group in order to see whether or not I could win the challenge.  What’s the prize, you ask?  Pride in your achievement and a great feeling of accomplishment.  There’s that and the fact that you’ve been able to write at least half your book in 30 days.

Not to mention a little badge of honor as a NaNoWriMo winner.
That’s it.  Winners gain pride and a badge.  The organization does not hand out money or publishing contracts.  This is a challenge based on the honor system.  You don’t start writing until November  first and you submit your word count every day you write.  Do some people cheat by starting early?  Maybe.  But why?  If money or fame were involved, I guess there might be those who would cheat but this is an individual challenge.  You do it just to see whether or not you can reach your goal.

I have been itching to start writing again but the marketing involved with No Mother of Mine has taken a lot of my time and I did not want to cheat by starting the second book in the series before November first.  I worked on it in other ways though; writing notes about different scenes and new character ideas, making notes about other ideas I have for the storyline, researching help tips for taking part in NaNoWriMo and just doing whatever I could to be prepared for November first when I could finally put the words on paper.  I am now very, very happy to be writing the second book in the Jorja Matthew’s Mysteries and I cannot wait to see how far I get in the story by the end of this month.
I honestly was wary at first that this challenge was even going to be possible.  Ten hours of my day are spent away from home due to work.  I have other obligations as well.  I’ve been dealing with time management issues ever since I began writing No Mother of Mine in August of 2011, which took me four months to write in addition to another eight months to prepare it before publishing.  I began to doubt myself before I even began, which is a terrible way to begin anything. 

But then the first came around and I began to write.  It was a Thursday so I had to work and then I spent some time with my family before I headed to my office to type.  I actually amazed myself.  I began to type and the words flowed easily.  Before I knew it, I had 2,005 words.  Friday was a bit more difficult.  I had a stressful day at work and unwound by playing board games with my family before writing but I still managed a word count of 1,091.  Yesterday was a great day where I was able to reach 3,064 for my daily word count and today was a bit less at only 1,433, but only because I had another project I needed to complete as well. 
Overall though, I’m right on track.  In fact, I’m above the average word count for four days.  To be on track my total word count by today should be 6,668 but my total is 7,593.

I’m thrilled.  I’ve been able to alleviate my fears and I know there is a very good chance I will reach my word count goal at the end of the month.  I’ll be updating my blog now and then throughout the month to let you know how I am doing with this challenge.
I had read various blogs by other authors who have taken part in NaNoWriMo in past years and there was a mix of positive versus negative.  Some authors have not been able to make it to 50,000 words.  Many authors became NaNoWriMo and later published the books they started during the challenge.  Others found it to be a great way to encourage themselves to put in a lot of work in a short amount of time.  However, some seasoned authors don’t appreciate the idea of newbie or would-be authors believing in the concept that they can write a book in a month if they aren’t able to accomplish that goal any other time during the rest of the year. 

It is not my belief that anyone could write a novel in a month. 
You can write a shitty first draft, yes. 

But not a novel ready for publication. 
NaNoWriMo just gives you the motivation to get moving.  To see what you can do.  If you cannot motivate yourself to accomplish what appears to be an unattainable goal, then it is unlikely anyone else would be able to motivate you to reach those same goals.  Either way, to be a success, it is much sweeter if you do it for yourself rather than for others.  I like to keep in mind this quote:

“Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself.”
~Theodore T. Hunger~

While doubt may rear its ugly head now and then, it is in pushing through the fears and doubts that will make you believe in yourself even more and will make you that much stronger to take on the next seemingly unattainable goal.
I’m through with doubt.  Instead I'm on a better route towards my goal.  Wish me luck!





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