29 days ago I took a pledge of some sorts - along with thousands of writers around the world. For a month, I committed myself to take part in the annual event - NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
I haven't spoken extensively about this on my blog and very few family / friends know that I'm doing it. It's something I've wanted to do ever since I discovered my love for books and reading. I've been writing for years, but to write a book has always been like a secret fantasy. I guess I could have started years ago, but I never really had the will to.
The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel of 50,000 words in one month. For the first week I was all set to go. I was penning about 1,000 words a night. Writing became addictive and I was so excited to finally getting down to writing what I always wanted to. I have to admit that I would never have done it alone. I have met some amazing writer's online who have encouraged and motivated me to go on and not give up.
They hail from all over the world - America, Canada, the UK and Australia. I have gained such valuable tips from them all with blog posts, Tweets and video updates - in particular Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. In Joanna's video's, I felt them to be so personal - like she was talking only to me! She is very honest as she speaks about her own NaNoWriMo journey - her difficulties, challenges and how she overcomes them. She really makes others feel like they're not alone in this "quest" - Thank you, Joanna!
My fellow NaNoWriMo friends are mostly married men and women with children. This motivated me even further. If they could find the time to be a full time spouse/parent AND write 50,000 words in a month - then what is my excuse?
As the second week in November rolled in, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find the time and energy to sit and write well. Although, the aim of NaNoWriMo was not to write perfectly. It was just to get everything out on paper. (No editing whatsoever!) I only had time over the week-ends, but I had other pressing deadlines to meet...or I was catching up on sleep! I also realized that I wrote better at night. Everything was quiet around me, except for the odd scooter revving past my apartment. I felt like I was one with my thoughts and ideas. My writing went past midnight and some days I only climbed into bed at 2am. There were mornings that I was already writing by 6am. I'd wake up with an idea or scene I had to write and I'd write for about an hour before getting ready for work.
I haven't reached the target of 50,000 words. I think I'm bordering on 20,000 words at the moment - which I'm pretty proud of :)
How am I feeling?
Satisfied & motivated to go on...
If it weren't for NaNoWriMo, I probably would never have started this little adventure. It's given me a kick start in the right (write?!) direction. The people I've met, tips I've learned and advice kindly given to me are humbly appreciated.
For a few weeks, I got used to chatting/Tweeting with some of my fellow writer's online. We shared anecdotes of our writing and helped each other out by trying to increase our final word count. I enjoyed the discussions on how to write a dialogue to, "My novel has some unconventional sex scenes I don't want my parents reading - what do do?!"
I hope that my new friends will continue with their writing adventures online and keep us all in the loop of their progress. It has become almost like a habit chatting and tweeting with them when it was morning/afternoon for me here in Korea and evening in America (while my family and friends in South Africa were asleep!)
Even on days that I didn't write for NaNoWriMo, I was encouraged to write something, so I blogged a lot. I've received a lot of hits over the past few weeks, and incredible e-mails from people - especially after my very open post about having panic attacks and keeping it "secret" in Korea. I've learned that the more naked I get with my writing, the more people can relate and respond to whatever I'm trying to say.
Having said that, to those who have reached their 50k mark - CONGRATULATIONS!
To the rest of us, let's not put our NaNoWriMo '09 to bed just yet. I know that I will continue to work on mine, even if it takes months to complete.
Thank you everyone who helped and advised so kindly over the past month!