Is there life after NaNoWriMo? I’m not really sure to tell the truth. I still can’t believe I won! Me! I wrote a novel in a month! I won NaNo in 17 days and finished the book in 25.
Yes, there are seasoned authors out there, turning up their noses. Yes, there are professionals who conduct themselves accordingly who are not jumping up and down screaming “I did it!” “I did it!” so loudly that the neighbors can hear. I am neither of those. I am simple, unassuming me. I’ve written for years. I’ve written books. I gave up writing. I came back to writing. I am a publishing newbie, a platform building novice, and a social media ignoramus. I am trying, desperately, to learn my way around. One day, I hope to at least look like I know what I am doing. I will admit to having much to learn.
What I am is a single mom to an emotionally needy pre-teen. My days/evenings are spent somewhere between chaos and bewilderment, bordering on completely overwhelmed. I have not had time to pursue a personal interest for at least oh, four years due to my daughter’s extreme dependence, her anxiety and her depression. Before that, I was married, and during that time I was made to feel that anything I did outside of working at my job, cooking or cleaning was a complete and utter waste of time. Now, I am at a point in my life (and my daughter is at a point in hers) where I can do something I want to do. (at least sometimes!) I can actually re-claim my long lost writing career. It’s a scary, changed world out there, but I am braving the unknown to figure it out. (It’s been 20 years since I was writing seriously and submitting my work!) Getting back into writing has been fabulous, but I was writing at a snail’s pace. I would take two months on one paragraph, or even worse, hop from one idea to another without finishing anything. I needed the challenge that writing a book in a month offered because I needed to figure out how to carve writing time for myself. Just like many other authors, I don’t get to do this full time. I have no one at home to take up any slack to allow me some writing time, either. If my daughter is having a rough patch, it’s all up to me. There is no tag team to handle the panic attacks or the sleepless nights, or the bouts of crying, or her (thankfully lessened) talk of harming herself. Yes, I know we all deal with our own obstacles, and mine are no greater than anyone’s. It’s just up to each of us to figure out how to handle our obstacles and do what we need or want to do.
I needed to prove to myself that it could be done. I needed to prove that I could finish something I started. I have never dreamed I could write 75,000 words in 25 days, but now that I know I can, nothing can stop me! My spark has been lit and I feel the joy of being a writer. I know the writing is the easy part, but I also know I can tackle the re-writing with confidence.
So, what’s next? Is there life after NaNoWriMo? Sure there is! Now it’s time to finish the short story I was working on before November got here. After that it will be time to look at my NaNo novel and get to work on the re-write. There are scenes that need to be fleshed out and others that need to be pruned. There is prose to polish. I need to catch up on my reading, and do some studying on publishing, marketing, and building an audience. I must figure out the mysteries of Twitter, and discover the meaning of life. First, I think I’ll sleep a while.