I won! For the fourth year in a row, I reached 50,000 words in the month of November and became an official National Novel Writing Month winner for 2011. Like I said last year, it really doesn’t get old.
My final day didn’t start off well, though. My daughter got sick earlier this week and any parent knows how much fun that is. She was in a bad mood all day, didn’t want anything and wouldn’t go down for a nap. By the time my husband got home, I was at the end of my rope and had no motivation to write whatsoever. Amazing man that he is, he promptly threw me in the car, took me out to dinner and then dropped me off at the coffee shop, telling me not to come home until I was a winner. I love him. When he picked me up, he even had my very first winner’s gift sitting on the passenger seat. I loved my gift, but even more, I loved having my accomplishment acknowledged. It was the best win yet.
And the book, you ask?
In typical fashion, 50,000 words wasn’t nearly enough to finish the story. In fact, I didn’t even get halfway through. Of the four years I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month, two novels were of the Romance/Women’s Fiction variety and the other two had some supernatural elements–this year being a fantasy. Tell me if you see the pattern I’m seeing. The years I wrote romance, I complete the novels and was thrilled to continue on to edit them and share them with my friends (admittedly, last years is still being edited). The years I’ve written something resembling fantasy, I got lost along the way. 2009’s novel remains unfinished to this day.
I lost steam with this novel about halfway through but continued to push. I love the characters and I love the premise but somehow, I’m just not pulling it off. I think there’s something in the fantasy genre (writing action scenes, maybe?) that bogs me down. And being bogged down makes it very difficult to get my head back above water.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about writing and being a writer over the years, though, it’s never to rule anything out. I may come up with the perfect solution for this story in the next year, or month, or week, but I think for now, I need to set it aside and get back to what keeps my heart singing. That’s one of the best things about NaNoWriMo–anyone can live with setting aside one month to try something new, even if it doesn’t end up working out.
So here’s my next adventure: Before I even finished NaNoWriMo, I began plotting a new story idea with my plotting buddy (I keep one on staff). Lately, I’ve shifted my focus to sharing more of my work in order to gain experience writing for an audience and to get some enjoyment out of writing for someone instead of writing for my laptop. It’s a romance that I’ve been mulling over for years and am finally ready to put on paper. I’m so excited to get started! I hope to nail down a rough outline and synopsis this weekend and have my first chapter ready to post no later than the beginning of this year. That’s right, no more letting my perfectionist mind analyze things to DEATH. It’s time for me to learn from experience instead of theory. So, please, don’t let me keep you waiting! I’m sure you’ll love this story as much as I do!
For those of you who participated in National Novel Writing Month, I’d love to hear what you learned this year. And for everyone, are you beginning to think over your writing plans for next year?