In the immortal words of my main character, Finn, “Wow.”
It’s surreal sitting here after pushing the “Publish” button on my urban fantasy novel A House for Keeping.
It took me six years to get to this point.
In 2012, I had a medical malfunction. (See my “Not Playing with All My Spoons” post.) By the time November 2012 rolled around, I was on the road to recovery and very grateful to be making slow but steady improvements. But I was also six months into slogging thru the autoimmune quagmire. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Slogging through the mud can be fun, in the right circumstances. I like mud more than most—I love me some good digging in the dirt, and I even make a mean mud pie. But a girl has limits. By November, I desperately needed something to focus on that didn’t have to do with me slogging.
Enter NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. My peeps, I do not exaggerate when I say I was a hot mess when I went to my first NaNoWriMo meetup. I was still recovering my walking abilities, so I literally stumbled into the meetup like a drunk woman, minus the fun part with the margaritas.
In case you’re not familiar, NaNoWriMo takes place every November. People all over the world attempt to write 50,000 between November 1st and November 30th. Normally, I couldn’t even think about taking on this kind of challenge because I’m always busier than hell at work that time of year. But here’s where my illness did me a favor. I was too sick to work as much as usual. So, I actually had time to write.
Thus, I went forth—alas, not fearlessly, like Finn, but with a lot of waffling and trepidation—to my first NaNoWriMo event. I arrived on the arm of my best friend, because a) see above re: stumbling drunkenly, and b) it would be another two years before I could drive again, so I had to be driven there like an angsty teen. Which is to say, like a teen.
The writing group didn’t care about my hot messness. In fact, they welcomed me and made me one of the gang. Emboldened by this success, I shanghied the best friend into driving my sorry ass to meetups all over the place. I was shocked to find that hanging out with people I didn’t know, but who were fellow writers, helped me focus and encouraged me to get stuff done. NaNoWriMo was as awesome as advertised. It gave me courage to actually tackle the writing I’d been wanting to do for years.
I “won” my first NaNoWriMo, writing all 50,000 words with a few days to spare, even. Woohoo! And bigger bonus: I had the bones of a novel, and a story I knew I needed to finish.
Of course, then it took me a couple of years to figure out how to rewrite everything and to develop a regular novel-writing process that works for me. And then another two years after that to figure out how to self-publish.
But here I am, on the eve of the next NaNoWriMo, and I’ve just published my first novel.
And also, thank you NaNoWriMo!