I first heard about NaNo in 2006. A fellow writer's workshop member, Elissa Malcohn handed me a flyer about a NaNoWriMo kick-off party. Intrigued, I attended and was hooked. I decided that I would participate in NaNo that November. Life, however, had different plans. I was in the final trimester of my pregnancy with my second child. She was due October 28 which to me was plenty of time before NaNo was to start.
Like most things in my life that year, nothing went as planned. On November 1, my youngest decided to put in a belated appearance due mainly to a bout of dehydration on my part. And she came by emergency C-section. Needless to say, I wasn't in any condition to write.
The following year, 2007, I was dealing with the aftermath of child visitation issues, divorce proceedings and a general sense of depression. I signed up to do NaNo, but chose instead to go back to a manuscript that had been laying around since I abandoned it in 2005 to focus on adjusting to being married.
My goal was simple: write one new chapter to the three chapters already done. It took the full 30 days to do it, but I got it done.
I made a promise to myself January 2008 that I would fully participate in NaNo that November, come hell or high water. Or both. Everything, especially my personal life, smoothed out and chaos took a detour away from my door for the first time in the last decade.
Even though I had just started taking online courses with Kaplan University, I figured I could do it. It turned out to be the roughest thirty days due to illness (kids and myself), homework, oh and that little something called a 50,000-word novel. The deadline approached and I uploaded my manuscript only to be dismayed by the final count: 40,296. I'd failed!
Upset, I talked to fellow writer, Dianne Dykstra and she with her usual forthrighness, put it all in perspective with this statement: "You are not superwoman. I'm impressed that you did all that with two kids, school and being a single parent." That made me feel better and it also fueled my determination to hit that mark in 2009.
Which brings me to this year. I made sure to minimize distractions, get ahead on my classwork and work out a schedule to write when my children would not interrupt. It helped as well that my oldest participated in the Young NaNo writing program. And as can be seen from earlier entries during November, I hit the 50,000 word mark with a little over.
I'm feeling really great and can't wait for next year's NaNo.