On Saturday I did what I thought was impossible. I wrote 50K words within a 30-day span. It's the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. For years that word (that's not really a word...) haunted me, bugged me, even mocked me. It made me wonder if I could ever complete the task.
Ever since I turned my hobby of writing into something more a few years ago, I've met a lot of authors. The ones who are still writing (most of them...) have one thing in common.
I know that sounds kind of stupid--of course they write, but not only do they write, but they write a lot. What's a lot? Many will crank out at least a novel a year and many write several a year. Me...I was sort of the "write when the itch needs scratching" kind of writer. I know this because I've started so many stories, but when it got hard or you had to plot out the whole thing, I sort of just left them hanging. I'll get back to that story one day I've told myself so many times. My computer's full of unfinished documents.
Yet, another reason why NaNoWriMo affected me so much. People actually finished stories.
For the last three years at least I had a built in excuse--I was involved in a Christmas play. We begin rehearsals in late September and by November, we're in full swing. I thought there's no way I can do NaNoWriMo so I never even started.
Things changed this year. My wife (who reads everything I write, but has stopped because I haven't finished anything...) asked me to write a story for my youngest child. I promised I would. I thought this promise would be a perfect way to motivate me to do it. I asked my son what kind of book he wanted to read, and therefore, what I'd be writing.
He said, "science fiction."
Great, I thought.
I love science fiction--never written a word in the genre. Plus, my son is a middle grade reader. I can think of very few middle grade science fiction stories. That's both a blessing and a curse. But, I didn't let that deter me. On 11/1/16 I began my story. I wrote every day (except Sundays), and four days ahead of the month's last day I wrote, "The end."
What did I learn?
I learned that by pushing through an impossible task can be conquered. I learned that I just might have what it takes to do this--what all my writer friends who write are doing--write a lot. I learned that there is something that rises above a simple muse providing inspiration--I'm pretty sure I received help from the Divine. And I learned that, when it's all said and done, the only thing keeping me from producing novel after novel, is me.
The story needs a lot of work to get it where it needs to be before I can shop it around. I've made several connections in the past four years and I'm going to see if anything comes of that. But, even if no one picks it up, it will be published. I'll self-publish it because I made a promise and I'm going to deliver on it.
What did I learn this past month?
More than one novel's worth.