One of the highlights of participating in NaNoWriMo has been connecting with the amazing Twitter writing community. I was an early adopter of Twitter back in my real estate days, but lately I checked it only for breaking news. Once I signed up for NaNoWriMo, I set up my new account and retweeted NaNoPrep advice for my first tweet.
Never having done NaNoWriMo before, I sought out and retweeted inspiration. After finishing my first day of writing on November 1st, I felt brave enough to put my intention for this month out there for the world to see. I wanted to write the book I couldn’t find when I was searching for answers.
Then I found myself encouraging other writers, posting helpful articles I found, tweeting about awesome podcasts, and answering writing prompts. On Day 7 I responded about why this work in progress is important to me saying “I had a hard time relating to books about coming out later in the life. If my work can help ease the mind of another in the same circumstance, they will know they’re not alone.”
When I needed motivation, I could usually find it using the #NaNoCoach hashtag. When I needed inspiration, a quick look through my timeline was all it took.
Throughout the month I saw a lot of writers post a character visualization of their work in progress. Since I’m a NaNoRebel and writing a memoir, I thought it was something that didn’t apply to me. On the 25th, I threw caution and fear to the wind and posted my dream of how I would cast the movie of my memoir.
My memoir may never see the light of day nor have a movie made, but a girl’s gotta dream.
Thank you my Twitter writing brothers and sisters for welcoming this newbie in the fold. This month began as an experiment in what might be possible, and ends in a new place to call home.
In a little more than 48 hours, National Novel Writing Month 2018 will officially wrap.
When I first heard of NaNoWriMo, I thought I might be a little crazy to try. Before I jumped in, I read the 8 Best-Selling Books Written During NaNoWriMo That Show You It Can Be Done and thought if the authors of books like “Water for Elephants” and “The Night Circus” started them during NaNoWriMo, what could giving it a shot hurt. I threw caution to the wind, suspending judgment, ditching my inner critic, and trusting the process of spewing words on the page with wild abandon.
I wrote every day. During the weekdays got up at 3:30 AM to write before work at 5:30 AM, then once I got home I’d keep writing until I had at least 1,667 words a day. I did word sprints at local NaNoWriMo sponsored write-ins and on their website.
Since my shitty first draft was all over the place, I knew there were holes to address but there is no way I could tell you what they were. In fact, once I reached 51,473 words and wrote The End on November 23rd, I honestly couldn’t tell you what I did or didn’t write. It was a blur. At that point, it didn’t matter…I was a “Winner”.
I’ve spent this week reading and studying memoir, completed an introductory webinar called Memoirama: Everything You Need To Know To Write Memoir, and I’ve read through a few of my pages. It is a hot mess, but it’s not as bad as I had feared.
I’ve learned a lot this month, and I have a lot to learn and grow as a writer. NaNoWriMo has shown me I’ve got the commitment and discipline for butt-in-chair-time to do the work, and that my friend is half the battle.
After I broke the 50K NaNoWriMo barrier to claim my Winner’s Certificate on Friday the 23rd, I thought I’d continue writing though the end of November to fill in some missing pieces of the story. Today after writing the 250 words which concluded the journey, I wrote “The End”.
I had an odd sense of finality, like even if I wanted to write more, the story was wrapped up. I also know The End is just the beginning of trying to make sense of this total pantser memoir that makes a jackrabbit look like he’s hopped up on some good stuff.
Time to study some of my favorite memoirs and marinate on how exactly I want mine to be structured. Writers have talked about revising being their favorite part so I’m hoping my Viking creative alter ego “Freya The Fearless” takes over from here. Cheers, or as Freya would say, Skol!
I’m officially a NaNoWriMo 2018 “Winner”, meaning I’ve fulfilled the goal of writing 50,000 words. This hot mess of a shitty first draft is not fit to be read by any other eyes but mine, but I’ll continue working on it until I write The End. Then I’ll start a new revision adventure and hope I can make heads or tails out of this unwieldy SFD beast.
To all the Wrimos still out there writing away, keep it up…you’ve got this!
Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude and love.
I love a parade, don’t you? I began marching in parades at the tender age of 4 and I have the embarrassing pictures to prove it. My love of parades continued through high school marching band, so I was already an accomplished marcher by the time I joined the Marines. But enough about me, I want to share a parade of podcasts I thoroughly enjoy during my weekday 90+ minute commute. It’s a great way to catch up on favorite shows, get investing tips, or learn about the writing life.
With this month being NaNoWriMo, I’m kicking off my inaugural Podcast Parade with “Write-Minded: Weekly Inspiration for Writers”. Grant Faulker (NaNoWriMo Executive Director) and Brooke Warner (She Writes Publisher) blend interviews, inspiration, and writing tips with down to earth authenticity about their own writing lives. According to their website, they “… bring to this weekly podcast their shared spirit of community, collaboration, and a deeply held belief that everyone is a writer, and everyone’s story matters.” Love that.
I particularly enjoyed this week’s episode about NaNo Rebels, those who are not writing novels during NaNoWriMo. Because this first NaNo attempt I’m writing a memoir, I felt like an imposter among the novel writers. When I heard about NaNo Rebels, I immediately identified, “yup, that’s me”. Not only could I relate to being a NaNo Rebel, Grant and Brooke interviewed runner Cami Ostman, author of “Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents”. Since I’m writing about my Marine Corps Marathon journey, I soaked up every minute of the podcast and added Cami’s book to my reading list.
Every podcast concludes with a writing action. This week it is ‘Write down three times you were defiantly sure of yourself.’ Okay Grant and Brooke, challenge taken:
- Even though I was last chair in my high school band, I signed up to try out for All-State Band after attending Summer band camp. I not only made All-State Band, I got moved to Concert Band. It was the first time I learned that if I really applied myself, I could make dreams a reality.
- I joined the Marines at 21. I was an Army Reservist but my father never believed I would go active duty. The day came when I was tired of sitting behind a desk and a Marine was the only military recruiter on duty. With “Where do I sign up?”, I was the easiest recruit he ever had and it was the best decision I ever made.
- I hadn’t run in more than three decades when I signed up for a half marathon at the age of 56. I left doubters in the dust and on the couch.
So, when have you stood strong in your defiance?