What am I grateful for this holiday season
First of all, I haven’t had a chance to express my gratitude for this holiday season that I am alive and well.
My deepest gratitude goes to my family, friends, and fans for their support of my work. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the daunting 50k NaNoWriMo word challenge.
This was my third year participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I entered with word count zero on Monday, Nov. 1 after some prep work in October. That same day, our grandson Henrik was born at 2:30 p.m., and I drove to Hastings to babysit his siblings and came back to Lowell the next day.
For days leading up to the challenge, I stared into the historic map of Saugatuck, hoping that awesome inspiration will strike a chord in my heart and mind. The opposite was quite the truth. Every morning of the challenge, I stood up against the same goal: logging in at least 1,667 words a day to reach the coveted 50,000-word summit by Nov. 30th.
Since I picked for my NaNo project the historical fiction genre, I had to do research as well. Weeks of previous research didn’t help much. On the third day of the challenge, I figured out that breaking the writing marathon into two daily sessions will make it more doable. From then on, I worked in two parts: morning and afternoon.
What I found out was that even between the two sessions, I sometimes didn’t know what was going to come next. Just like watching a movie, I worked from scene to scene, not knowing what’s going to come next.
I was in for a few big surprises; I call them forks in major decision-making in the plot. I took advice from veteran Wrimos like author Jean Davis: do something or kill somebody, she advised in a special podcast panel.
Then, came times, when I thought I couldn’t go on physically; my entire being was hurting. I remember in a podcast, the host asked me: “Does writing hurt physically? Can you feel it?”
Yes, I could feel it, but I also felt accomplishment and movement forward, because I had no time to stagnate in murky waters. At one point, I realized I would have to log in more than the required 1,667-word quota, because of the upcoming holiday, and author’s events like Christmas Through Lowell which ran for three full days.
From my previous NaNos, I knew I would have to be fit also physically. I started walking on Oct. 11. I first walked on the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail, then to the Franciscan Life Process Center, and finally, as the weather got worse, I switched to the treadmill upstairs.
To this day, I believe if I hadn’t been physically fit, I wouldn’t have finished the challenge. I reached the 50k summit on Nov. 19th in the morning. I continued to write inspired by my NaNo buddies authors Andrew Allen Smith, Diana Plopa, and Marianne Wieland.
On the final day of the challenge, which is today, I logged in a total of 62,288 words, which puts me at 80 percent completion of my new book “Shifting Sands: A Lost Town.”
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along this journey including my author buddies, my family, and my fans. I celebrated NaNo today with a haircut, chocolates, music “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and a ride to Murray Lake.
It’s the simple things that count on a writing journey to publishing a new book. To me, it boils down to logging in daily word count, enjoying the journey, sharing insights, and offering support to others.
I was delighted to host podcast episodes of “For the Love of Books Podcast” during NaNoWriMo; it lifted my spirit, and hopefully, it helped others as well.
So take a listen to the following NaNo expert authors wherever you get your podcasts: Jean Davis, Sara DeBord, Kate Meyer, Melanie Hooyenga, Amy Klco.