NaNoWriMo Confessions

on December 1, 2013 in My memoir

I didn’t win.

For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is… It’s a global sensation where writers put down 50,000 words in the month of November.  Check it out at

In the thirty days  of November, I wrote 18,405 words.  While that’s no small feat, I think I could have, and should have, done better.  But I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

I wrote those 18k+ words while working a full time job, taking care of my wonderful husband, cooking, grocery shopping, washing dishes, doing laundry, writing critiques for the women in my critique group, feeding and picking up after 3 dogs and 6 cats, losing my six year old Beta fish, getting a new Beta fish, cooking all day on Thanksgiving, writing and delivering a Toastmasters speech, running errands, planning and taking a day trip, spending time supporting my friends, reading and listening to 3 books, walking for exercise, watching 4 movies, writing the December issue of our Toastmasters newsletter, and still managing to get enough sleep to function.

When I look back over November, I see little pockets of time that I could have spent writing.  But life doesn’t stop just because I want it to.  It’s not like I was playing games the entire time.  Months ago, I deleted Candy Crush and I’ve never looked back.  But I also haven’t stopped having fun.  Life is meant to be lived, and I’m living it.

It is important to have realistic goals and while 50,000 words was attainable for many, it was unrealistic for me.  As I look back, I can see two big reasons why.

I’m still learning that perfectionism in my writing isn’t necessary.  Although it’s difficult, I’m trying not to edit as I write, and to just get the words down.  I’ve already written and deleted so much in the name of perfectionism.  I literally started over on November 1st.

I am afraid.  Family love is supposed to be unconditional, but sadly, that’s not my reality.  I accept that I will be judged because of the things I am writing about in my memoir.  Susan Brooks, a beautiful and powerful woman who spoke at a recent SSWW (Scottsdale Society of Women Writers) meeting, told me that not only do I need to let my mother read my memoir, I must give her a copy.  She’s right.  It’s the only way for the healing to begin, or to end.

My goal is 75,000 words, or as many as it takes to tell my story.  I have a feeling that 75k will be just about right.  If I break it up into 20k per month objectives, that means I’m more than a quarter of the way there.

Where do I go from here?  That’s easy.  Back to work.  If you need me, I’ll be at my computer, or at work, or at the grocery store…  But I promise you, and I promise myself, that I’m going to get to the end of this journey, one month at a time.

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