Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNo No More!

or, Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Well, National Novel Writing Month is officially over tonight at midnight. I got my 50,000 words written -- just squeaked in under the wire today -- but the book is far from finished.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, though at times I felt that I was taking a month-long break from reality. At other times, I questioned my sanity because reality refused to take a break from me. In the month of November, the book I am under contract for (for my "real job") went to the publisher. This, of course, required the tying up of the myriad little editing loose ends that always accompany a major co-authoring project.

During the month of November, significant happenings took place with "Against the Wind," the movie about the life of Dick Beardsley that is in development...

November included an entire week of half-days of school, which significantly impacted my writing plans, since it's easier for me to be creative if a six-year old is NOT hanging over my shoulder asking to see what I'm writing...

November means that the choir I direct is adding extra practices in preparation for our annual Christmas cantata the second week of December...

It also holds Thanksgiving... And a thousand other reasons why I should be doing something other than writing.

It's the spirit of Thanksgiving that I will most associate with this year's NaNo.

I am so thankful to Robert, my wonderful husband, and my very good friend Chari, who both clamored (and continue to clamor) for more chapters. They pushed me to keep writing -- even when I got around word 30,000 or so and became convinced that my doing NaNo was an exercise in generating crap. Robert has always been my biggest fan. He has known of the story I am writing (my version of an Arthurian legend) for years. Chari, on the other hand, is completely unfamiliar with my source material. She's my "newest fan." Both of them kept me going.

Robert and Chari's enthusiasm and support reminded me how important it is for writers to say "I'm a writer," and to tell people what they are working on. Telling others of our projects not only makes our work more real, but it also makes us accountable to others and encourages us to finish what we start.

I am also thankful for the students I've worked with this past year who took the time to let me know that I was of use to them in some way. I know of at least three fellow NaNo contestants who signed up because I mentioned the contest. None of the three had ever written anything lengthy before, and all three finished!

Of course, each had to do the work him- or herself, but it makes my day to receive e-mails telling me that I had something to do with motivating a writer to take on something new. Sometimes all a writer needs is someone to think he or she is up to a particular challenge. I love being that person!

And so, as November fades away and December looms, bringing its own challenges, here's to all my writer friends -- especially those of you who jumped into NaNo with both feet this year. May you continually find yourself surrounded with those who encourage you to grow, who support your dreams, and who fill you with thankfulness!

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