As November wraps up, I'm finally ready to admit: I've been NaNo-ing.
This is my sixth straight year of participation in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the annual event that challenges any one, any where, to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. The Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit that runs the show, works year-round to help young writers. It's a fun adventure for a terrific cause.
My first NaNo was back int 2010, and the fifty-odd thousand words I generated then became, after lots of polishing, my second novel (You, Jane - 2014). That first time hooked me, so every November since, I've grabbed an idea, stretched my fingers, told my inner editor to take the month off, and buckled down. In past years, I'd share each days words on my author blog, a kind of real-time serial. That was part of the fun, letting readers see how messy a first draft really is.
This year, though, I decided to NaNo in private. Work and life swirled in ways that gave me pause about trying at all. I didn't think I would "win," get to my fifty thousand. And I hate to lose in public, even if it's only missing a made-up goal of no real consequence.
Plus, the image that came to me in a dream in the last week of October, the image that forced me to start writing, created a story that I want to keep private for a while. Only one person other than me knows anything about the plot or characters.
As I write this post, on the dawn of the 29th of November, I'm sitting at 46,296 words. It's likely I'll make it to 50,000 later today. And, after a quick breather, I will read those words and consider whether they are worthy of serializing for readers, for real, starting in January.
In the meantime, back to the story. I hope you've had an amazing November, whether you are NaNo-ing or not, in public or private, with your own writing adventure.
Elizabeth Fountain writes stories of angels and aliens, love and forgiveness, and of course, dogs who save the world. You can find more of her work here.