NaNoWriMo, Three Sons, and a Full-Time Job
Most days don't allow for much writing time. Work takes up the bulk of my allotted hours of consciousness and motivation, with the remainder of the day spent tending to my brood and performing 'mom jobs' - I can't specify what these are as they can range from cooking the least creative dinner possible to helping my son with a yo-yo routine to cleaning up the little gift Gus decided to puke up on the floor. I would love to be able to write more. In fact, that's what I dream of doing full-time. Until that day, I try to squeeze in the minutes or hours where and when I can.
So how can I participate in the yearly NaNoWriMo event? And what the hell is that anyway? *I asked myself the latter question a year ago.
A crazy collection of random letters or something wonderful?
The National Novel Writing Month started in the end of the era of tiny backpacks and combat pants. But unlike those poor fashion choices, this is something awesome. This incredible event has been going on since 1999 and is only getting stronger. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. For those of you who don't write, this can be a daunting task - especially if you're a mom raising three boys and working a full-time job.
So, why do it, you ask? Well, as you know, I can be a bit of a procrastinator, and being involved in this event keeps me motivated and goal-driven. For me, I will do my best to meet my goal, but I'm a realist and will relish the experience rather than worry that I may fall short. There are numerous support groups across social media to help writers discuss their work and stay focused. I'm enjoying meeting wonderful authors and look forward to keeping these connections beyond the event.
At this time, I am 9,300 words into my book - a brand-new storyline. It's an untitled work at this time, as that part of the process usually happens after much vacillating and frustration. The genre is a mix of science fiction and fantasy with a dollop of romance all intertwined in an environmental theme. In order to meet my goal of 50K words, I'll only need to write another 40,700...gulp. Clearly, I've got my work cut out for me!
Where does the writing magic happen?
A word about my throne of creativity.
No, I'm not talking about a toilet (Or was it just my boy-brain that went there? Quite possibly. But I live with boys and it was bound to rub off). The special place where the writing magic happens is my 'writing chair'. At least that's what my sons have decided to call it.
The chair itself was my grandmother's and it reclines to the perfect angle that allows me to comfortably prop my laptop on my legs and write. I tend to park myself in that spot when I hope to be able to spend consecutive hours on one of my projects. When I'm settled, feet propped in front of the wood stove, I am left for chunks of time and I find myself enter the zone of productivity. It is easy for me to completely lose track of time when I am immersed in the story. Time loses all significance and hours go by. It is usually with reluctance and stiff muscles that I finally close the computer and reenter the real world.
But what about those three sons?
My 'throne time' is brief most days, peppered with questions and needs of various origins. I often find myself going through a series of recline-incline-recline-incline during any writing stint. Actually, now that I think about it, it's rather impressive that I can maintain a train of thought with all of these interruptions. I'll chalk that up to the multi-tasking-mama that I have to be! Thankfully, I've got a very supportive crew who give me time when I really need it, allowing me to get a couple thousand words or more written. The volume of my daily writing may be on the small side, but I try to make up for that on the weekends. And don't ask me about the laundry. That falls under the Fightclub rules. We don't talk about it.
Advice for the dreamers.
Being a self-published author has been a wonderful, stressful, frustrating, joyous, entertaining, fulfilling experience. I believe that, in life, we have to take the good with the bad - unless we're talking about chocolate because why bother with something bland and waxy that has all the calories and none of the flavor? - and with that in mind, it's important to understand that writing that first draft is just the beginning of the journey. There is editing and marketing and formatting and marketing and uploading to platforms and social media and marketing and blogging and newsletters and marketing and writing more books and author talks. Oh, and there's marketing...lots of it. But at the end of the day, you're an author. The moment you finish that book, the dream is fulfilled.
The ability to publish my own work has allowed me to realize a dream that began when I was in 7th grade. Many new writers are starting their own journey to authorship through the NaNoWriMo event. This platform is a great opportunity to explore your passion and try your hand at crafting a story that someone is waiting to read!
A final word
Write. Create a new world out of nothing. It's the only true magic.