This year, I’m participating in my 8th National Novel Writing Month, and if you follow me on Facebook, you may already know what a NaNoWriMo fanatic I am. This year, I was incredibly honored to be asked to write a Pep Talk for my local region and I thought I’d share it here too for those who might need a little extra inspiration as we cross over into the second half of the month. I know the shine and excitement is wearing off by this point, but don’t give up! Just around the corner is Week 4 where we get some of that shine back as we scream toward the finish line. See you there!
There was once a time when I didn’t know people could write novels. I mean, not real, every day kind of people. Obviously someone wrote novels, otherwise I would have had nothing to do with myself during those long, lonely hours of my teen years and young adulthood. (If only we could go back to that, right?)
And then a Google search one desperate, longing-filled day led me to something that would truly change my life: it led me here, to National Novel Writing Month, where real, every day kind of people were writing novels. Up until that moment, I’d only written short stories and I had a couple of very sad attempts at novels sitting on my hard drive, none of which had ever surpassed a few thousand words. I knew I had more to say than I could convey in the short pieces I’d been writing, but up until I discovered this sacred place, I thought I needed permission to write an novel.
Turns out, I didn’t. (And neither do you, by the way, but since you’re reading this and have already found the sacred place, I’m assuming you’ve had this epiphany too.)
That was in 2008, and by the end of November 30th that year, I had written my first novel. ME. A real, every day kind of person. And that was it. I was hooked. For the first time, I felt like I could finally call myself a writer and I never went back.
Over the following eight years, I continued to write. I wrote while I was pregnant (twice), and while I welcomed a new baby into my life (twice). I wrote while I ran my web and graphic design business, which I eventually gave up to write even more. I wrote while my health deteriorated and while I subsequently recovered from the autoimmune disease that took hold after having my kids. I wrote while I moved to a new state where I didn’t know a soul.
(There was a lot of editing in there too.)
Most of all, I wrote during National Novel Writing Month. Every year, no matter where I was, or how I felt, or what else I had on my plate, I used NaNoWriMo as an excuse to remind myself that I was a writer, first and foremost. I made that commitment to myself and to my writing. (Also, it just feels good to escape into fictional worlds, especially when things are tough.)
Right now, I’m participating in my 8th NaNoWriMo even though I have more on my plate than ever, most notably preparing for the release of my debut women’s fiction novel, PERFECTLY UNDONE, with Graydon House/Harlequin. And you know what? That novel was my 2010 NaNo project. That means that, though you may not realize it yet, the novel you are writing right now could already be changing your life. You could already be on the path to fulfilling your wildest authorly dreams.
Either way, what I know for sure is that it is most definitely turning you into the writer you hope to be…the writer you already are.
So I will leave you with this: Yes, YOU, a real, every day kind of person can write a novel. YOU, with your kids hanging from legs. YOU, with your day job. YOU, with your health that gets in the way. YOU, who still isn’t sure if you can call yourself a “real” writer. YOU, feeling like 50,000 words is impossible. YOU, wondering if you should give up.
I promise you, you can do this. Make this commitment to yourself and to your writing. Commit to seeing this month through, and you may just be amazed at how your own story unfolds.