When I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2012, I never thought it would lead to the start of a writing career. I was an avid reader and loved to make up stories for my kids, but the concept of starting a career in writing was a foreign to me. Yes, once upon a teenage dream, I did want to write novels but I placed that idea on hold for a career that paid the bills.
Lo and behold my sweet husband, one morning at the beginning of September, he stopped while reading an article in the Wall Street Journal and said, “There is this thing called NaNoWriMo. I think you should participate. You love to read and you said you used to think about writing. Why don’t you go for it.”
I looked up from the middle of my crazy, get my children dressed for school, fed, and out the door routine with a blank stare.
After he explained what it was, an online community of support to write a 50,000 word book in one month, I still wasn’t convinced. How was I going to write while managing two young children and the millions of other things I had to complete?
Nevertheless, the little seed was planted and after a few days of mulling over the suggestion, I thought. Why not?
During the course of any spare time (usually after my heathens were in bed for the night), I researched how to plan a novel. (Yes, I am a plotter, not a panster.) I sketched a general outline of my fantasy novel and then spent the remainder of the month filling in plot points.
November 1 rolled around and I was ready to start. The only problem was I made the big error that the NaNoWriMo site says not to do, REVISE. I was supposed to keep writing even with errors and just get it on paper. That didn’t work out for me. That first day, I wrote barely three paragraphs because they didn’t sound right. Frustrated I gave up and went to conquer the role I was good at: mother, wife, PTO goddess.
I didn’t give up though. I sat down again the next day and tried to tackle the task, but this time just writing until I couldn’t write anymore. By the end of the day, I had written four thousand words. I continued this momentum until I had reached my goal a few days before Thanksgiving.
To celebrate, my husband and I signed a contract to build a new house.
After all the holiday festivities, I returned to my “completed manuscript” for edits and the rest was history.
I spent the next year taking classes, editing, and submitting with no bites, as well as, coordinating the building of my family’s new home, an hour away from where we lived.
At the moment when I thought I’d give up on this dream of writing (Early Spring of 2014 to be exact), my sweet partner in life said, “You know they do another NaNo in April. Why don’t you try again?” This time I didn’t question him and agreed to write something new, something completely different from the first. Well, except for the heat, I love heat! I went through my planning phase and by April 1st I was ready to start again.
Now a year and a half later, I am doing the whole cycle again, but this time I am writing the second book in the series and possibly announcing a new contract soon!
The moral of this story is don’t give up. Keep trying. You never know where it might lead.