Some of you might remember my quite severe and precise planning I had drawn in one of my many precious notebooks of the daily word count, day for day, until completing all three novels of the same series.

It was great, perfect, and if I had followed it by the letter I would be now, this day to be precise, finishing the first draft of my second novel, the sequel to the first one I submitted this summer. But, as life goes, a few things happened :

  • I finished the novel already in October, exactly a month ago. How come? I realized all of a sudden that my story was finished, and I didn’t need any more words to it. The first draft is a bit over 80,000 words and it’s just perfect when it comes to the length. The problem being that I had based myself on the first novel, which – now I realize – was just horrendously long, making it one of the reasons why it got rejected in the first place! (160,000 words… that makes two novels!)
  • I was sort of lost when my planning was interrupted, and felt like rewarding myself for being this productive. So I took a week off, then discovered an online writing course and registered! I’ve been studiously following all 5 courses of the University of Iowa “How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women” writing workshop and it was GREAT! One of the best journeys ever, made me rediscover my passion, learn lots of new things, and left me wanting more!
  • Today was the last day of this online writing course and again…. I’m a bit lost. I’m not excited about continuing on the third sequel of my novels, and in the meantime, another story has been cooking in the back of my mind, so….
  • I registered for the NaNoWriMo today. Yes. Today. Past the middle of the month. 50,000 words in only little more than 10 days, taking into account that I can rarely manage to write at home on weekends. Crazy? Yes. A challenge? Oh yes! Doable? Sure, why not?

This of course makes my whole planning obsolete, but excites me more than anything right now. Actually, the writing course made me rediscover my passion for literature and reading that hadn’t been this strong for over 20 years. Crazy, no? I felt like the student again, who has no other worry or job in the world than just sit there and learn. Discover things. Learn lots of new stuff. Develop and grow. It was soooo beautiful. I will write later on some day about the workshop in more extent, because I really feel it is a great help for anyone wanting to start or continue to write and widen his horizon.

The writing was stressful, hard at times, having to complete writing assignments every week, with a new theme, and actually put something out there for others to read and comment on. But as it is, I am someone who needs this stress and pressure, as well as a close deadline to avoid losing interest. I’ll be fire and flame for a topic, a storyline, and then, if I don’t attend to it, it just gets lost on the way and ends up lying in the ditch, neglected.

Taking part in the NaNoWriMo is another way of getting my act together and write this story that is brooding inside of me and get it down on paper, at least a major part of the novel in a first draft. Once it’s out, I can work on it and refine it. If all goes well, I have 8 days where I can free some two hours to write, during which I usually manage to get almost up to 5,000 words. That will make out 40,000 words, and I’ll just have to fit in the last 10,000 somewhere in between.

The plan is to draft the storyline this weekend – something I can do even with the kids around – and to jot down the main actions of each chapter, making it thus easier to get to work each day. I guess though I’ll have to get a bit more disciplined about getting up early in the morning, which will buy me half an hour if I’m not my usual grumpy and comatose self….

Has any of you participated in NaNoWriMo? What do you think about it?

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