For twenty years, I was a fiction writer who avoided writing: I'd read at least a dozen books about writing, I wrote in a journal, I shared family stories in my scrapbooks, and I blogged. But deep down inside of me, I knew I was a writer, and I almost never gave that side of myself a chance to be heard.
After reading No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, and perusing the National Novel Writing Month website, I thought that anyone who would commit to writing 50,000 words in thirty days was crazy. I certainly never thought I would be one of them. However, the idea kept pushing at me until I finally added my name to the thousands of others from around the world, many of whom had typed their fingers off in previous years.
I approached my husband and children, expecting them to talk me out of it. They were more excited about it than I was. As November 1st approached, it was only their enthusiasm and the fact that I'd told several friends about my madness that kept me from turning tail and bolting out the door. On November 1st, my internal critic brought everything to a lurching halt. It was only God’s grace and sheer determination that made me write a thousand words that day.
As I subjected my hands and neck to daily cramping spells, I discovered that the story inside of my head was frantic to get out. By day three, I had 9000 words. By day twelve I had 31,000. And by day seventeen, I had passed the 50,000 word mark and the story wasn’t even half-finished.
In order to pursue my dream, I gave up time with my children, time with my husband and time with friends. I put aside nagging household projects. I gave up home schooling because I realized I couldn’t write non-stop and educate them simultaneously. And I let go of the notion that my first draft had to be stellar.
Althougth I am not joining this year, I know that it was one of the best things I have ever done. I hope you too can release your writer. In my opinion, there is no better way than to give NaNoWriMo a try.
© Michelle Gregory, 2006