Wow! The end of this National Novel Writing Month came quick. I can’t say it snuck up on me because I was very in tune to every day. Especially those days when the struggle was real. I’m posting this wrap-up message on December 6th because on November 30th I was in flight to Los Cabo Mexico to celebrate my 10th anniversary as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. This trip was THE best way to wind down from a month of writing, something I’ve never done before.
The experience has been nothing less than life changing for my writing life! In these weeks I have literally learned that I can do hard things. Specifically, I learned that I can prioritize my writing over people that I love and events that I’d like to attend, and the world will not fall apart. The people I love and like will still love and like me. And most importantly, I learned that people will respect my commitment to my writing IF I respect the commitment I set for my writing.
I’m not totally disappointed that I didn’t hit the goal of 50K words (18,230 to be exact) I commend myself and everyone else who participated in the challenge for just trying. This was not an easy task to take one. And being a “pancer”, someone who does little to no plotting and planning. I literally pulled an idea that I’ve been stewing over for the last couple years and starting writing it. I had the beginning of the story somewhat planned but as with the writing process, I could already tell it would have to be revised. Nevertheless, I’m excited to have a start to this novel, which will be my fourth!
Here’s a list of other key takeaways from my participation in NaNoWriMo 2022:
- It’s okay to talking to people about what I’m writing. This might be a writers’ thing, but I don’t usually talk to friends about what I’m writing. Honestly, I don’t think they really care. Most times I feel like whoever I’m talking to is waiting for me to finish talking about it so they can carry on with what they wanted to talk to me about. I’m usually the “listener” of my friends or family. However, this month I made a concerted effort to share with family and friends that I was working on a new story during the challenge. And that usually led to them inquiring about the story so I told them.
- There’s an additional benefit to sharing my writing with others, even if they’re not writers. I received a great suggestion from the dater my cousin brought along to an event we both attended. In sharing with my cousin about my story, which is about two caregivers, in different age groups, ethnicities, and personalities on a road trip after both of their husbands die, I mentioned wanting to go beyond the black/white friendship and involve a ethnicity we don’t often see in African American stories. His date suggested a Native American and I was immediately intrigued. Interestingly, I was scheduled to attend a webinar the following week about Thanksgiving from the Native American perspective. Although my character choices had nothing to do with why I signed up for the webinar, I felt like her suggesting that was a sign of how I should move forward. I wouldn’t have received that if I didn’t share my idea in the first place.
- This might be a given but it’s solidified in my mind now. I must have a goal for any writing that I start. A blog post, essay, short story, or novel. Once I move from my story conception to writing, I have to give myself a solid goal for completing the first draft. Believe it or not, I have not been doing that. There have been times I set a goal but didn’t sit down and determine how I was going to do it. This challenge made me do that and, for that, I am forever changed. Going forward, with anything I want to do, I’m going to set a goal and create a plan for how to accomplish it.
So thank you National Novel Writing Month for being a great teacher of 2022!
I’m curious…what has challenged you on your writing journey or any other journey you’ve embarked on? Post in the comments.
Til next time,