The NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016 challenge is almost over. With only 8 days left, I plan to finish strong. I never set out to write an entire novel (I had a novel with well over 50,000 words already), nor did I set out to finish this one. That just isn’t feasible for me right now with a infant son, another pregnancy, and preparing to move 4,000 miles away in two months. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t make small steps. What I had hoped for was:
- Organize my story plan and escape my writing rut.
- Have a consistent writing schedule.
- Have a consistent reading schedule.
- Have a first chapter that I was excited about.
1) PLAN – CHECK!
I wrote about this minor epiphany at the start of NaNoWriMo on November 1. I created an organizational outline and checklist for the novel, which has set me up for success in this challenge and continue success afterward.
2) WRITE DAILY – WORKING ON THAT CHECK…
So far, NaNoWriMo has helped me get into a daily writing habit. While I haven’t written every single day (sometimes a fussy 9 month old who won’t nap made that impossible), I have made great progress. However, even on the days that I couldn’t sit down and write, I made notes of ideas and attended to those the next day. So even if I’m not writing, I’m working!
3) READ DAILY – CHECK!
A daily reading habit has been lacking from my life since I wrapped up my dissertation this past spring. Without reading, I can’t hope to improve my writing beyond the skills I have today. Reading helps me continue to learn by studying what other authors are doing and what other authors say about writing. Currently, I am reading We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oats and Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose.
4) HAVE A FIRST CHAPTER I LIKE – CHECK!
This is probably the most exciting thing to come out of NaNoWriMo for me. I had a first chapter, but wasn’t thrilled with it being the first chapter. I like the chapter itself, but as an opener it felt a little flat. After working on my outline, I had the thought of writing the opening chapter from Poppy’s perspective instead of my original plan, which was from the protagonist, Tara’s perspective. JACKPOT. While November has been difficult for me as I reflect on my dad’s life and legacy, writing from his inspired perspective has been incredibly therapeutic and has helped drive my novel into a new and stronger direction.
Alright folks, 8 days left. Let’s get it.