Every year, thousands upon thousands of writers dedicate the month of November to writing a full novel… except me.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term NaNoWriMo and you don’t know why they gather, it’s because writer’s set the goal of writing 50,000 words for a fiction novel in one month, specifically November.
The organization that puts it together makes clear distinctions about what it means to really finish NaNoWriMo. For instance all of your 50,000 words have to be written in November. While they say you don’t have to start a fresh manuscript per se, you would have to write an additional 50,000 words then in November.
I don’t write fiction very often anymore, and I honestly don’t really think a 200 page word goal is necessary (In fact, I don’t keep word count goals for my books), so NaNoWriMo isn’t a good fit for me in it’s simplest form.
While the organization that started and promotes this event does have a “NaNoWriMo Rebels Forum” for everyone not writing fiction and therefore (likely) not trying to keep to a 50,000 word count, most people don’t know about that forum. Plus, you only really qualify if you are writing fiction, and you write all 50,000 words.
Now, let me say that there are a ton of writers out there that having a goal of writing an intense amount of pages in a limited amount of days works for them.
If so, my theoretical hat is off to you.
I’m not here to denigrate NaNoWriMo or to say “don’t do it! You’re not a real writer if you do NaNoWriMo!”
What I am here to do is let you know that if you can’t seem to write, on average, 1,667 words a day (for all 30 days), and overall, you find yourself hitting walls, and unable to keep up with such a stringent timeline… Well then I’m here to say that you are still a writer!
There are 3 very big reasons why I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, and I want to encourage you to skip it or know that it’s ok to do poorly at it as well if anything in the previous sentence applied to you.
Sarah Durham Wilson is one of the most badass ladies I've ever had the pleasure of speaking to.
I learned about Sarah from her online presence on Instagram, DOITGIRL. The quotes she wrote and posted always pulled at my deepest need to see that particular sentiment being said by someone else, and then I felt validated enough to keep going. (That might sound vague, but damn did she pull on my heartstrings and my fears and my anger and my love in those moments, and this is the best way I can describe it.)
Today, I present the incredible interview I had with her just a few weeks ago.
When I was a little girl, after every Sunday church service I went to with my Dad, we would stop by my Grammy and Pappy's apartment.
I loved to tell them what I learned in the service, in Sunday school, and how I was doing in school.
When I went with my Mom to church, we'd inevitably pass by my grandparent's apartment building, but it wasn't her family, and my parents were divorced, so we'd head home. I'd still look up, squinting my eyes toward their balcony to see if I could make out if they were there or not.
I remember learning to swim at the YMCA with my Dad and Pappy, pretending to cut and style his hair with my children's hair dresser set, how they would always have root beer barrels and Werther's for me when we came over, and listening to Frank Sinatra on his two in one radio and c.d. player. I also remember being with Pappy when Grammy passed away and being in the hospital with him when he had shingles and was close to passing.
But the weeks coming up to Christmas, there was something I craved that only my Pappy provided: fruit cake.
On October 11th 2015, only ten short days ago, I married my best friend.
There are a lot of things I love about my husband.
He’s incredibly kind.
He keeps our home clean.
He loves me for exactly who I am.
And he encourages me to stick to pursue what I love.
Today, we’re in Miami on our honeymoon.
One thing people don’t know about us is that some of the more intimate time we get to spend together is when I read aloud to Ryan.
This blog post is not about shortcuts.
This blog post is not about writing a book in a month.
This blog post is about how people achieve their life long goals.
Honestly, I’m sort of sick and tired of hearing about overnight successes and people who wrote their book, launched it, and made a quarter of a million dollars.
Because none of those people are telling you the real story.