“The writer is by nature a dreamer – a conscious dreamer.” ~Carson McCullers
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved writing. I wrote poems and short stories, and I never once complained about writing sentences that contained our spelling words in Language Arts class. In high school, I looked forward to the reports my teachers assigned and in college, my essay submissions were my moments to shine. I didn’t know technical writing was even a thing until I took a college course in it but for a while, I considered changing my major because I had so much fun writing mundane manuals and stuffy spec sheets.
Writing, of any kind, has always brought me joy but I never thought it could be my life… until recently.
Now that I have 3 kids in college, 1 in high school, and 1 in middle school, my time has been significantly freed up to follow the passions of my heart. I remember people telling me this day would come but I don’t think I ever truly believed them. When your life is consumed by little people, it’s hard to imagine anything else. But here I sit in my office (which doubles as my oldest daughter’s room when she comes home from college), telling you that day has come for me and it’s coming for you, too.
So, what’s a mama to do with all this free time? Write!
Writers Gonna Write
I’ve been writing for The Military Mom Collective (formerly Military Moms Blog) since Day One, three years ago. I write on my own blog. I try to microblog on Instagram every day. (That’s a shameless plug; give me a follow!)
I also create content for an organization I’m passionate about called Love Missions which fights human trafficking. I volunteer on the Advisory Board and marketing team for Love Mission,s and I serve on the Operations Team and Board of Directors for a ministry called Women at Rest. I keep fairly busy and that free time I dreamed of really doesn’t exist anymore.
On top of all that, I’m also writing my first book. (Eek!) I’m halfway through the first draft of my Christian Living book for women, eager to find an agent and get it onto a publisher’s desk. Yet I find myself getting ready to apply the brakes already because there’s another project on the horizon, and I’m not missing it again this year. Call me crazy, but I’m stopping the world and taking the plunge. I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo 2020.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which rolls back around every November. Since 1999, the NaNoWriMo organization has encouraged creatives to embrace a most daunting challenge: write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Yes, you read that right. That’s 1,667 words every day for the entire month of November – including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the day before Thanksgiving when I’m usually up to my eyeballs in sweet potatoes and stuffing.
Why would anyone subject themselves to such an intense writing schedule? Because at the end of 30 days, you have a novel!
I learned about NaNoWriMo two years ago and decided I’d give it a go the following year in 2019. On Nov 1, I jumped on the NaNoWriMo website and realized that you can’t just show up on Day One. WriMos (as they call themselves, er, as we call ourselves) begin prepping in September with weekly NaNo prep exercises. By the time Nov 1 rolls around, WriMos have developed their story ideas, created complex characters, outlined their plots, reshuffled their calendars, and are ready to jump in with both feet and pump out that 50,000-word novel.
Think it’s impossible? Maybe you’ve heard of a little best seller called Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Yeah, that’s a NaNoWriMo novel! Thousands of writers participate every year, and hundreds of books have been traditionally published.
WriMos are embraced by a community of writers and even receive pep talks and mentorship from published authors. It’s a beautiful thing, and I can’t wait to hunker down with creatives around the world this November to see what the dream inside of me will look like when it finally bubbles out.
Do you have a young author in your life? NaNoWriMo also has a Young Writers Program that runs during November too. Students under 18 are invited to join in the novel-writing in November and to participate in smaller writing challenges year-round.
A Novel Idea
While I love writing opinion pieces, informative articles, and heart-touching devotionals, there’s something exhilarating about creating a story and watching it unfold under your fingertips. Ideas take life and lead you chasing after them in directions you never imagined going.
If these words create a little flutter in your heart, join me! Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it’s exhausting. Yes, it’s hard work. But if you’re suppressing a story that needs to come out, it’ll be worth it.