Halloween in November

15871719_10208170781854054_6750330212750455719_nThe month of November.

Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, finals studying and jumping in piles of leaves. Also Alicia’s birthday month, but what a lot of writers know November as is something much different, and much more horrifying than anything Halloween brought that year.

NaNoWriMo.

Also known as National November Writing Month.

What is NaNoWriMo? Basically, it’s a non profit organization, a challenge, and a writers wonderful, terrifying party.

“On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

So, in the year 2016, I participated in NaNoWriMo.

And it was honestly and truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I started with a plan for my novel “Fight or Flight” already in place, but not much more. I planned to write about 2,000 words a day, or at least a chapter a day, and have the novel finished by the end of the month, much like many other writers who participated. I spoke to others on discussion boards, received help, gave advice, was motivated, lost my motivation, and finally, finished at almost 54,000 words.

I’ve had big projects before, but this one was probably the most difficult, and yet, it seemed like such a small hill when I looked at it from above.

One novel. One month.

That’s it.

I plan to spend my entire life, hundreds of months, writing dozens of novels. I plan to sit for hours a day, bleeding onto the page and smiling at my creations. I know I’ll have hours and hours of demoralizing writers block and apathetic stares at my computer screen. I know the choices I’ve made have brought me to this future, one of dozens of different worlds, hundreds of unique characters, and even more failed attempts at life-changing stories.

This is what I’ve chosen.

NaNoWriMo was just a peek into the future. It was a practice level and a self-written instruction manual. It was difficult and exhausting and I loved every minute of it.

Goals are what drive us forward, but if we don’t set them, in both a realistic and challenging place, then all we’ve done is put our car in neutral.

NaNoWriMo shoves the gear handle into drive and all you have to do is press down on the gas pedal.

So, yes, I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo’ and I enjoyed every second, even the agonizing moments of ‘what the hell do I write next’. I’m so glad I participated this year and I will definitely be participating in 2017, which by the way, happy new year.

Now go accomplish your goals.

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