A novel experience

Waking up at 5 a.m. is crazy, right?

Waking up at 5 a.m. every day for a month, even crazier.

I mean, it’s not like I had a baby to feed. My kids wake up early, but even 5 a.m. is early for them.

So, what would have compelled me to lose sleep, drink more coffee and wake up before the sun?

One word: NaNoWriMo.

Okay, so that’s not really a word. But it is the reason. I first heard about National Novel Writing Month last year while it was going on, and I was unprepared to participate. It’s been on my radar ever since, so when November approached this year, I created a plan to complete the goal of NaNoWriMo: write a 50,000-word novel from November 1-30.

The plan included waking up at 5 a.m. daily to write as much as I could before the first child woke up for the day.

Some days, I succeeded. Success to me was 1,000 words or more per day. Other days, I failed miserably. And by that I mean I didn’t even get out of bed.

But as of today, November 30, the final day of NaNoWriMo, I’m proud to say that I have written 35,000 words this month. Added to a previous 7200 or so that I’d written before the month started, and I now have over 42,000 words of a novel written.


I knew going into this that I probably wasn’t going to make the 50,000 mark. My kids woke up earlier than usual. The words wouldn’t come. I had other writing projects to finish. My husband needed the computer. But I knew that whatever I accomplished was success because I rarely make writing a priority. How can I? I full-time parent two full-time kids.

This exercise proved to me that it can be done, but it requires sacrifice, namely sleep, but I’m convinced that’s why God allowed coffee to be created. Mmm … coffee.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. What I learned from NaNoWriMo.

Not only did it teach me discipline in making room in my day for writing, it also confirmed my call to write. At the same time, it frustrated my call to write. On the days I got in a good chunk of writing, I felt like a better mom because I wasn’t thinking about writing all day long. I’d already done it. Other days, I barely scratched across 500 words because I was out of the chair every five minutes to grant a breakfast request for my kids or change a diaper or wipe a bottom.

I haven’t gone back yet to review what I’ve written, but I’m in awe of the story that has unfolded. I don’t say that to brag on myself. I am convinced that God has called me to write, and to write this story in particular. Maybe that sounds weird or arrogant, but that’s the best way I can explain it.

Writing a novel is hard work. Duh, right? I think I have as many questions in the margins as I do words on the page. I’m eager to do some research and fill in the blanks. I don’t know if this story will ever see the light of day beyond my computer, but I’ve started the journey and I’ll go as far as God allows me to go.

To all you WriMos out there who made the 50,000 mark — way to go!

To all who participated — you rock!

And if you thought about it but didn’t — maybe next year?

Thanks, NaNoWriMo, for the inspiration.

It’s been a November to remember.

2 thoughts on “A novel experience

  1. Pingback: Beginning again « The Home Front

  2. Pingback: Friday Morning Catch-Up | BeckyDurham.net

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