What seems like ages ago, but is actually a decade ago, I sat down for the first time to tackle NaNoWriMo. I failed. Spectacularly. Everything was plugging along nicely for about the first ten days, but then my hard drive failed, taking every single word with it. Nine years ago today, I sat down once again, determined to write my first novel. I had plenty of caffeine, a pretty purple office, a solid idea in my mind. I was ready, set, — oh wait, I’m pregnant. And going to school full time. And working full time. And I have this adorable three year old to keep alive. Okay, I’ve got this. Except, I didn’t. I crashed and burned within a few days because my dreams of writing were the only ball I could afford to drop. That defeat put me out of the game for a few years. Defeat and trying to keep two little humans alive.
In 2012, things changed. I’d spent the entire year writing how-to articles for some big websites. Transcribing insurance interviews for major auto insurance companies. And I was miserable. I sat down at 11:59 Halloween night, ready to give this writing thing one more try. Just one. If it didn’t work, I was ready to concede defeat. About 11:30pm on the last day of November, I let out a whoop of joy as I typed those blessed words. The End.
I’d done it!! And in 2012, I published Bent under the pen name HB Heinzer . And another. And another. And some more. It’s been a wild five years. Novel number twenty comes out late this month. Since then, there have been periods where the characters in my mind won’t shut up and times when I couldn’t pry them out of the dark recesses of my mind with chocolates and cookies. Or threats. Tears. Nothing worked. But one thing I learned in 2012 was I only truly failed if I didn’t keep trying.
This year, I’m trying something new. Really new for me. I’ve been reading a book called Story Genius and I’m going to follow the plan laid out in those pages to write this book. Because, you know, there’s nothing better than learning how to rework your entire system when you’re doing a challenge like NaNo. I’m going to blog about it (when I remember), updating with snippets of what I’m working on, my thoughts on the process, my frustration when the characters inevitably go completely off the rails as they usually do. It’s a little something different, but I’m hoping it’ll be at least slightly entertaining to someone out there. If not, it’ll be a series of posts I can look back on in the future when I’m wondering what in the hell I was thinking.
If you’re doing NaNo, leave a comment with your name so we can stalk one another. Because I’m super original, my name over there is sloanj.