November 1, 2017
For the last two years, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The premise is easy: you write down 1,667 words every day for a month (the month of November) and then at the end of the month you have a 50,000-word book. While the premise is easy, the execution is hard. Some days it’s hard to write ten words, much less 1,667. However, I set myself up both years for success by doing a variety of things, not the least of which was going in with a solid idea of what I wanted to write. The first year I wrote about my experiences working at an all-boys school run by Benedictine monks. I will never publish those stories, but I wanted to get them down for myself and NaNoWriMo was a great motivator to actually do it.* I hit the goal easily and “won.” I was pretty pleased that I was able to say, “Yeah, I wrote a book.” Last year I completed the first draft of the middle-school adventure novel I had begun the year before. I knew where I needed to go with it and had a rough idea of chapters, which made it relatively easy in regards to direction. I’ve spent much of the last year editing and, once I get my changes moved from the hard copy to the electronic version I’ll be able to send it ’round to a select group of beta readers. NaNo was a great motivator to finally finish it. And then I was able to say, “Yeah, I have written two books.” I mean, no one has read them and they just hang out on my computer like petulant teenagers wondering if I’m ever going to let them out of their room again, but yeah, I have written two books.