Author Life

NaNoWriMo & How It Helped Me Realize My Dream

Two years ago, I struggled to remember what those words stood for. Now, National Novel Writing Month, held every November, holds a special place in my heart. Did you know, my dear friend, that NaNo was the beginning of my journey? There’s a chance my words would not have found its way to the pages of a book if I hadn’t taken that leap. Attempting to write 50,000 words in only thirty days sounded like absolute insanity.

I knew I loved to read and create stories. I had a bag full of ideas. And spent two years having a blast as a beta reader (post coming soon!) for my author friend, Kerry Evelyn, but did that mean I could write? Did I have what it took to finish a whole story? I’d attempted it years ago and still that half-finished manuscript sat at the bottom of that bag, a romance intrigue, that I didn’t know how to continue. I got stuck and stopped. What if I did that again? And now I had far less time with three little ones running around. Could I even manage to find the time to write?

As the doubts circled in my head, my two author friends, Kerry Evelyn and Chelsea Delaine, encouraged and lovingly pushed (or was it shoved?) me to consider joining NaNo in November 2018. They promised to be my support team. During October this small seed of hope grew. I don’t think I even realized what it was at first. My well-meaning friends saw something in me that I was struggling to see in myself. But that small kernel grew and settled deep within my heart. I’d always wanted to write. In fact it was on my vision board. Now, though, it felt possible. And that deep part of myself that I’d hidden, that little girl desire to write, had blossomed into the dream of an adult bubbled back to the surface. 

Let me take you back to October 31, 2018. 11:31pm. As I laid awake in bed scrolling through my phone I saw post after post of friends who were participating in NaNo. I suddenly realized I had nothing to lose. I pulled up the NaNo website and registered before I could change my mind. 

Then reality struck me. I needed something to write about! My old half-finished story wouldn’t work. NaNo was all about starting a new project, and to write without self-editing. To just let your creative mind flow, and reach 50,000 words in thirty days. 

On November 1st, with out-of-the-box brainstorming, I recorded myself for thirty minutes coming up with an idea. At first, I used what I saw in front of me. It’s a pretty silly recording in the beginning but it got me started. Someday, I just might release part of that recording once my book is published, but that day the idea for my urban fantasy, The Protectors, was born.

Since then, I’ve learned that you don’t just sit down and write. Some people can do that, and are brilliant at it, and someday maybe I will be too, but my imagination—while vast and wonderful—goes off on many tangents. If I don’t have a path in place, my novel doesn’t end up with the right story structure and some of my characters fall flat because I haven’t thought them all the way through, and I might include things that are not relevant to the reader. 

It was hard to put my first baby story on the back burner. It’s fully written. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I’ve had rounds of beta readers and editors look at it. Each time it gets better and better, but what I’ve learned is that there’s a reason many authors who write fantasy take years to get their books out. It’s all the things I mentioned above in addition to world building. 

So while I want to share that vision with you, it’s going to take a little longer than I’d originally hoped. When I do release it, I want you to be wow’d. I want you to be taken away on the journey that I went on with the creation of the story, the world, and the characters.

In the meantime, I’ve found that I have another writing love, one I didn’t know existed. I love fairytale retellings! And if you’re here already joining me on this journey, there’s a good chance you’ve seen my version of a retelling. I love to offer something a little different, something unique, and unexpected within those stories. Writing fairytale retellings is an incredible way to weave all of that together.

So today I’m reflecting on how I started and where I’m going. More importantly than all of that, I’m happy, you are here to share it with me.

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