I’m a huge fan of National Novel Writing Month. The origin story of this podcast starts with Nanowrimo, and if I haven’t yet shared that story on this blog I will sometime soon. I’ve participated at least four times and won at least twice, it’s hard to keep track. And I knew I just wasn’t going to be able to this year.
It’s become harder to do the intense writing and long hours Nanowrimo requires since I became a mom. The first time I attempted it post-baby, in 2014, my then 6 month old went on a major sleep regression and basically didn’t sleep the rest of the month. Any time he slept, I slept, period, and my novel, such as it was, fell completely apart.
It’s also hard to do when you have other obligations, like, I don’t know, running a podcast. Add to that the fact that I start a new part-time job in November AND will spend almost a week out of town, and I knew this wasn’t going to be the year for me. That made sense. But it didn’t mean it didn’t suck to think about not participating.
I like the camaraderie of Nanowrimo. I like popping into the forums now and then to see what everyone else is up to and what the chatter is about. I like seeing people’s word counts come up on Facebook and Twitter. I like going to the occasional write-in or virtual write-in. And while I don’t participate every year (after the 2014 fiasco, I didn’t even ATTEMPT it last November,) I was kind of looking forward to it. But it wasn’t meant to be.
And then, on October 5th, I got blindsided by an idea.
This isn’t entirely true. The seed of this idea has been with me for awhile. I had some idea of this character and the story I wanted to build. But on October 5th, from of all things a facebook post, I got the inspiration that tied the whole thing together and I knew the story I had to tell.
So I did something very uncharacteristic of me: I just started writing.
I’m an outliner. In the world of Nanowrimo, this makes me a Plotter (as opposed to a Pantster, as in fly by the seat of your.) The reason for this is simple: without outlines I don’t make it to the end. Believe me. I cleaned my office today. Where half-finished manuscripts go to die. Found four or five more of them. But this time…I don’t know…I just sat down and started writing. No outline, no notes, I just picked up a pencil (yeah, I know, old school) and wrote down some words.
In the ten days since then, I’ve been writing like a maniac. Scared of losing this idea, I just kept going. I couldn’t sleep one morning so was up at 5 a.m. writing. My house is a mess, I write. The toddler sleeps for half an hour, I write. I even turned off the baseball playoffs. It’s inspiring. It’s manic. It’s…Nanowrimoish.
So, apparently this year October is my National Novel Writing Month. I’ll still miss the camaraderie. I won’t be in the forums or at the write-ins and this won’t count for a win or anything. But I just might end October with the draft of a novel. Or something. At ten days, I’m 11,000 words in, so it won’t be nothing. And I’m happy. Because it may not be November, but the spirit of Nanowrimo stays with me and I’m very grateful to them for all the inspiration. I hope if you’ve never sat down to frantically pound out the draft of a novel, you’ll give it a try. Maybe this November. It’s an exhilaration that can’t be explained.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some writing to do.