Once, Twice, Eight Years of NaNo (…And Counting!)

It goes without saying… I love November. (Okay, so it might go without saying, but it doesn't go without typing, apparently).

NaNoWrimo have had a love-hate relationship for eight years now. In fact, most of the items on my Works in Progress page came from NaNoWriMo.

It starts in September every year, I get an idea for something. I don't know. Maybe a movie strikes me, or a book. Somehow a muse starts to scream at me. So I start on the research. And the more research I do, the more excited I get.

By the time October is here, I am usually already squawking on Facebook about the upcoming fun, sharing links to my profile so that others can join me, updating my profile – all that fun stuff. The last week of October is usually the hardest, because by the time October 31st comes around I am usually bursting at the seams. I start stocking up on coffee and twizzlers (you know, the essentials), batteries for my mouse and keyboard. I start locating my thumb drives, compiling my research into neat little, easy-to-reach piles, updating my Dragon Dictate software.

I even go so far as to start talking to my husband about it, remind him that NaNoWriMo is coming and what that means for me and my time.

It's a process.

But by the end of November, I am usually struggling to whip out the last 3-4,000 words or so to meet the challenge. By that time, I am wiped out of my ideas and I am usually staring at the last sentence, poking myself in the temple, and wondering what to do next. Somehow I end up cranking out those words, but I have yet to be very happy with them. Hence the hate side of this relationship with NaNoWriMo.

This year, it was the complete opposite.

Eight years ago, at midnight, I along with two friends sat down at midnight, coffees and sodas and snacks in tow, and started writing. We had a great time. Eight years later, midnight doesn't pan out for me anymore. I try, don't get me wrong. I start drinking the coffee at about 10 on the night of October 31. But by the time midnight rolls around I am passed out on the sofa. I wake up three or four hours later, change the baby, and then grunt because of my late start.

This year probably marked one of my lowest on the scale of motivation. So many of my friends (and even a few enemies) are published or getting published. They're doing great things with their writing and do you know what I'm doing with all my writing?

Yep – filling up my Works in Progress page.

Yet, despite my slow start, once again as I got into the research phase of my project, I got more and more excited. I guess maybe it doesn't matter if none of these works ever get published. Just the process of writing them is sometimes enough to keep me going. And by the time November was coming to an end, I was more motivated than ever.

Eight years of NaNoWriMo, and still going. I don't know how long I can keep it up every year. But I think that at least for the foreseeable future I will be keeping a stock of twizzlers and coffee.


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