November has come and gone, and with it brought many a wonderful things to my writing life. While becoming an official ‘NaNoWriMo Winner’ and being part of that lovely circle of winners was NOT something that did occur, I have to say, I’m not feeling sad about it at all.
I came in at around 10,000 words. Most of them were for chapters 9-11 of my novel ‘Hangman'(working title). The others were for a brand new chapter one – that started as a prologue, but morphed into chapter one. I spent most of the latter part of the month working on the first 250 words that I then submitted to the 2013 YA Discovery Contest by Serendipity Literary Agency. The deadline to submit the first 250 words of your novel was November 30th. Last year I submitted and an agent from Serendipity Literary Agency contacted me and asked for the full manuscript of my novel. THAT WAS AMAZING. While we weren’t a ‘match’, the agent took the time to give me feedback – which I am extremely grateful for!
As you are well aware, I also had my second book published! CATCHOW!! My first book of poetry, ‘I Am That Woman’ – that I am thrilled to promote and sell. I’m busy also putting the magic touch on a fabulous launch event that will happen on January 24, 2014.
I can’t deny that I put extra pressure on myself to write more during November in an attempt to hit 50,000 words. I’m pretty sure I wrote 50,000 words over the month, but not for just one novel! In emails, poetry, press kits and some of my novel – for sure though!
It’s a strange thing that participating in something like this does to your writing life and self. For some, it’s the opportunity to challenge one’s ‘demons’ and/or ‘critics’ to STFU for 30 days. For others, it’s the opportunity to challenge one’s time management and dedication to writing skills. And still, for others, like me, it’s the opportunity to practice the skill of going with the flow because sometimes when one ‘challenge’ begins other opportunities – unforeseen opportunities – come a knockin’. And mama answered the door. She sure did.
How did you fare this NaNoWriMo? Are you the proud holder of a ‘Winners Circle’ badge? How do you feel now that it’s over? What have you learned about your writing self during the process?
I learned that I like writing with some sort of focus. Being less ‘pantser’ seems to work well for me. I think it’s because of the scale of my story. It’s big and heavy and long. And I can’t not plan ahead and write down all the connections. In fact, I’m itching to get back to my outline and streamline it more. To decide on an ending and hope that my characters let me keep it!
I learned that I put too much pressure on myself to get things done, and that I do too many (like, waaaaaaaaaay too many) things at once. I learned that this may not be the best time to write a novel. Simply because the time it takes to do this just doesn’t exist in my world right now. And that’s okay. I’m learning to accept this and be gentler on myself. Which is why something like an outline and writing certain scenes one at a time fits much better into my life right now.
I also learned that November is the start of my ‘oh shnitzel it’s the end of the year’ emotional roller coaster ride that pretty much begins at the beginning of the month, slowly rising to a very high, very scary apex in early December (um, now!). The fun part – the Christmas holidays – is when I put my arms up and let my hair blow and my voice yell as I’m enjoying the decent into New Year’s Eve.
I’ve started lighting candles, reading more, drinking more tea and watching my favourite holiday films, including but not limited to:
The Family Stone, Love Actually, The Notebook, The Sound of Music, Elf, Home Alone, The Polar Express, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, New Year’s Eve, The Way We Were, St. Elmo’s Fire…
I get both nostalgic and smultzy. It’s a whopper of a double whammy. My kids are always asking, “Mom, are you crying again?”
I’m also writing my yearly letter to Mitch Albom – a tradition I’ve had for years. Here’s a bit about that in a post I wrote about ‘What’s In A Letter’. And the joy of receiving a kind response from Mitch...
That’s all for now.
Thanks for reading this far!