On NaNoWriMo & the Writing Process

So, it’s December 4th. That jolly, excessively bright and cheery time of the year; you can’t turn on the TV without being reminded of it. But mostly, for me, it means the end of November, and in turn, NaNo.

For those of you who may not know what that is – NaNo, or National Novel Writing Month – is a program, or collective effort, in which you commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It sounds easy, right? Or maybe, if you’re like me, it sounds daunting.

This year was my second year taking part. I committed to it just as I did last year – but last year I failed, and this year I didn’t. Last NaNo, I relaunched an old idea into something new, a sort of horror Gothic romance that fell fantastically flat. My characters were interesting enough, the idea also quite interesting. But the genre is where I failed.

This year I went simple – contemporary romance. Why? I don’t know. I guess, in my mind, romance was the “easy” way into a smooth win; I could write 50,000 words of loving gazes and silky touches. Right?

Yeah – I was right…sort of. But 50,000 words, for my characters, wasn’t enough for said gazes and touches. They needed buildup, slow motion. I gave it to them, but it taught me something about the writing process I had never known before.

Writing is, well…hard. It isn’t all ideas and fluidity; it’s work, commitment, effort. It sounds silly, to think of it that way. Of course writing is hard. To create something from nothing, to write one word after another in such an order as to create a story, something real in someone’s mind…it takes work. It takes dedication and the ability to tell your friends and family that you can’t do things, it takes sitting down and figuring out who you actually are – which, before now, I’ve realized I spent an exponential amount of time shying away from.

My manuscript is almost done; I have continued to give it the same commitment I promised in those hallowed 30 days, and will be taking a journey after to see it self-published. This is an entirely new experience – one I’m ridiculously excited to share with everyone, one I can’t stop gushing about, even to those who may not understand what it means to sit down and take the effort required to finish something like this.

It’s December 4th…November is over, but my story isn’t.

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Reader | Romance Author | Feminist | Ally

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