This was my first kick at the can for NaNoWriMo, and I kicked it far enough to meet the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. In fact, I wrote 54,247 words in that time frame. The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes is not yet complete, but it will be by the end of the month. The novel will be between 60,000 and 70,000 words.
The story is about a middle aged woman who struggles to re-find herself after her kids are grown and moved out of the house.
Almost every day, I was able to write at least 1,667 words. Most days, I wrote slightly more. There were four or five days when I managed to write only a few hundred words, so the following day I had to play catch-up and get them down before I started on that day’s word count.
The actual writing wasn’t difficult; I normally write every day, so I’m accustomed to the daily exercise. The challenge was to find the actual time to write. November was very busy for me with craft shows, editing, publishing and life.
I’m happy with the story and although it is only a first draft, it contains a good foundation for a novel. When it is completed, it will be put aside for a year or so to ripen. I have several projects to complete before I tackle the revisions and editing for it.
Why I Won’t Do NaNoWriMo Next Year
There was a time in my life when November was the month to shut down a lot of things: the camp, the row boat, the garden. But then I had kids, got goats and chickens, started a soap making business and opened a publishing company. November is no longer the month when time is mine.
To get the average 1,667 words down every day, something had to give: aka had to be neglected. I don’t like neglecting work, but I also don’t like giving up on a challenge. Given the fact that it was only 30 days, I neglected and wrote. But I don’t want to do it again.
So I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo in 2016. If it was in January or February, it would be doable, but November is definitely not good for me. I expect to be at more markets next November which means the challenge and the neglect would be greater. Perhaps some time in the future, my Novembers will be less busy, and I’ll be able to again participate.
In reality, the real challenge is to write, just write every day. Anyone can do that. It doesn’t have to be 1,667 words a day. It might be 1,000 words or 500 words. The important thing is to set a personal daily goal and keep it without exception.
Perhaps for some, the challenge might be to see if they could accomplish that many words in a short of time. It wasn’t for me. I’ve written 60,000 words in a month before. The challenge for me was to see if I could repeat it and do it with the many others who were doing it too.
So while NaNoWriMo was a fun challenge, the biggest pay off is the almost completed novel I wouldn’t otherwise have. It was an unplanned story thought up just for the challenge.
It’s amazing what we can do when we challenge ourselves. In the remaining weeks of 2015, my writing challenges will be few: completing The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes, writing five genealogy columns, writing a few blog posts and editing and republishing Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove.
Then I’ll call it a year. I plan to publish four books in 2016, so a little break at the end of this year will be appreciated.