Hello November! You know what that means, it’s National Novel Writing Month. The best part of that for me? This year, I’m writing and I’m winning.
I’ve been writing 50,000 words or more in November since 2013. That’s the year I wrote the second book in a young adult fantasy series that still sits on my hard drive. I pitched and shopped the first book of the series in 2014, but since there were no takers, I moved along to the next project.
The next year, I wrote a bunch of short stories. Yes, I was what they used to call a NaNo Rebel. One of those stories was later fleshed out into a novel that I pitched in 2018 at the Oregon Christian Writers conference and even through Pitch Wars on Twitter. I had a publisher read it, but when they didn’t fall in love with the story, I let it fall back to the inactive Scrivener files on my computer.
In 2015, I wrote a novel on spec for a publisher. They didn’t buy it. The next year, I wrote a sweet romance that I still think about from time to time, but now that I’m writing women’s fiction, it will probably stay with the other sleeping stories in cyberland.
Both the 2017 and 2018 novels were published by Sweet Promise Press in the now defunct First Street Church series. The novella written in 2018 is the third in the trilogy that is published here as An Unexpected Homecoming. It’s part of a sale I’m running through Christmas to encourage more bookish gifts.
And that’s the last time I did NaNo.
This year, as you’ve heard, I’m finishing the manuscript I started back in June called Summertime Getaway. You can read an excerpt here and here. Women’s fiction, I’m told, should be no shorter than 80,000 words, so it’s a good thing I had close to 30,000 words already written before the month commenced.
You can bet I finished. Writing “the end” is the best feeling. It’s even better in November when you get lots of cool prizes for “winning” and can print out a certificate commemorating your “win.”
But for me, the best feeling is knowing that creative burnout is finally in my rear view mirror. My plate size might be half what it was when I churned out 50,000 words in less than three weeks (that was 2017 I think), but I’ve learned how to refill and protect my creative well so I don’t burn out ever again. I might not be able to write 5,000 words every day for a week, but I can write at a professional pace. I can finish a project that I start and write for three hours per day.
That’s more than some people can say. It’s less than other people do, too, but I’ve learned that the only person I need to compete with is the person I was yesterday. In fact, competition is the evil stepsister of comparison, and comparison leads to depression in my world.
I am a published author who’s writing a book in a new genre. This book is the first in an exciting series. Best of all, I’m eager to start the next book so when I find my ideal agent, they’ll know I’m a serious author.
My writing career might look different now than it did the last time I won National Novel Writing Month, but change is a beautiful thing. As long as I’m moving toward my dream. And writing.