How many times have you done it and have you won?
Last year, being my first, was sporadic. Since I can remember I have always wanted to be a writer but no one ever gave me the motivation to actually sit down and write. For years I had struggled with the idea of entering some of my short stories in a writing contest so on October 31st my search engine finally got put to good use. One of the first links that I clicked on was the Office Of Letters and Lights, which of course lead to the wonderful website of NaNoWriMo. With less than twelve hours to go on the countdown, I listened to the voice that told me ‘Go for it!’ Of course since I had only learned what NaNoWriMo was mere hours before it kicked off my novel was not planned. On top of that my self-esteem tank was running on empty, who was I to actually believe I could write a novel in 30 days? Yet, being the daring child I am my mind took the leap off of the cliff into the dark waters of novel writing. No, I did not reach the 50,000 word mark by November 30th. I didn’t reach the other side of the shore until several weeks later but the feeling of proving to myself that I could write was so much more rewarding than a web badge and winners title.
Since then I have lived for NaNo’s, winning my first official NaNoWriMo during the August Camp Session with a wonderful 50,216 words with a whole four days to spare!
What is the best tip you can give to a first-time NaNo'er?
Listen to your heart! Ignore the voice in your head that tells you that last paragraph was horrid and the ending will be even worse. Don’t stress when you are a few hundred (or even thousand!) words behind, we have all been there and know if you keep pushing on 50,000 will eventually be right around the corner. Just remember only you can free the words build up and hidden inside you. It’s time to let your story shine!
How much preparation do you plan to do before November 1st?
Well since I have only done two NaNoWriMo’s of which were never planned, this year is going to be completely mapped out. I’ve spent the last two months reading books on the civil war, Texas, and cattle ranching. Since my family is so supportive we have even spent a few days with no electricity, cooking over an open campfire, eating recipes from American pioneers, and even for some, wearing 1870's time period clothing. As November is getting closer I’ve experienced the fun of time lines, character sketches, plotting, and even working on short pieces to acquaint myself with characters. However, my favorite thing by far has been stocking up on jelly beans. It’s a tradition I’m starting as a NaNo bribe, one jelly bean for every 500 words I write a day. Now on the other hand the coffee has been free flowing!
Got anything you'd like to tell us about this years project?
Well my Novel this year is based off of a beautiful hymn written by Fanny J. Crosby in 1875 which gives the message that ‘All the Way My Savior Leads Me.” This is the theme of my historical novel in which tragedies and mysteries unfold for two cousins living in Northern Texas after the civil war. Through the book each cousin has to learn that Jesus is always there for them no matter the circumstance. Despite my Christian theme the novel is not a Christian Romance but a novel that races over Texas plains plagued by cattle rustlers, uprising Natives, rough cowboys, droughts, blizzards, and a haunting shadow that the Civil War has cast over my strange host of characters.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Don’t be afraid to share your work! It’s the only way you will ever improve. It’s ok to have a mess of a plot and first draft. When you dive in the horrid grammar, spelling, and plot holes will be something to laugh over as you begin to edit.
I had never been one for keeping up with a blog but I did start one this past spring which I will begin working on once again after this NaNoWriMo. http://foreverjane18.blogspot.com/