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Juggling NaNo and Everything Else!

NaNo: Do I dare?

It’s November! Writers all over the country, and the world, for that matter, know that we are upon the month where writers push their limits. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Few people actually complete the 50,000 words that are considered a winning word count, but sign up with the best of intentions. I would imagine everyone starts with great gusto only to fizzle out in the end.

This is my first year to participate in NaNo. I’ve buddied up, kept up and updated my word count daily. I’ve actually gone to one write-in in a town not too far from my own, and, despite being an adult amongst children (because they were all college kids), it was fun. I walked in with the confidence of a seasoned pro, but shrunk quickly with three youthful limp handshakes and curls of sheepish smiles. I felt old and I never feel old. They all looked at me like I’d sprouted a second head when I ordered a glass of chardonnay, but it was the only adult thing I could do. I grabbed my wine, gave them all a motherly smile and took my place at the table. Awkward or not, I actually made three new buddies and wrote close to two thousand words that evening.

All these things wouldn’t seem that big a deal if I wasn’t in the throws of three other projects and in the middle of a major life change. There was probably no worse time to make a commitment to NaNo for me than right now. I retired from my executive position on October 31, 2014 and turned forty-six two days later. I’m polishing and editing one completed manuscript and I’m 40,000 + words into the second book in my series. So what do I do…? You guessed it, I take on NaNo.

I’ve never been a plotter. Frankly, I suck at it. I’ve taken courses and classes, downloaded worksheets and suggestions, but it never seems to come together. Sometimes as a pantzer, I wonder how it’s going to come together, but it always does. I say all this because I knew in my heart of hearts that I’d never be able to complete NaNo if I didn’t put something down on paper. So with my favorite Mont Blanc and a healthy sized dinner napkin I sat down with my husband over Mexican food and a margarita and said, “I’ve got an idea”. You want to help me plot out my book? An hour later I had laid out the most complete plot I’d ever created and amazingly I’ve followed it. It’s really more of a rough outline, but the foundation is firm and filling in nicely.

It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in a year for some people, let alone a month, but after digging around on the NaNo website, I was amazed at the number of people who have accepted the challenge. I guess it’s like anything else in life, you set a goal and work diligently to achieve it. I can’t promise I’ll make it, but it won’t be because I didn’t give it my all.

Cheers to all the people that accepted the challenge. Stretch the boundaries, find the time and keep moving forward to make it to the finish line. God willing, I’ll be there too!

My buddy name on NaNo is: heathermiles1

Heather Miles

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