I have been a freelance writer for 7 years and counting. In that time I have written enough blog posts, landing pages, product descriptions, and social media posts to fill multiple books. But the one thing that I have struggled with that entire time was carving out enough time in my schedule for my own writing.
It is funny really. Fiction is what made me fall in love with writing but now that I actually have a career in it, I have no time for writing fiction. I have a feeling that I am not the only freelance writer faced with this dilemma.
NaNoWriMo is a 30 day event that occurs for the entire month of November each year. Thousands of writers worldwide make the pledge of writing 50,000 words in a single month. That is all you need to do to “win.”
When the month is over, you don’t emerge with a completely finished novel. It is more like you are left with an entirely organic first draft that you will spend following months editing, adding to, and completely dissecting.
What it does accomplish is making you put your inner critic in a 30-day time out. Instead of writing a paragraph, deleting what you wrote, and then rewriting again, you just have to let it go and move on. Get the story down. Let it guide you. I found this part of it very appealing.
Why I Signed Up
Lately, the work load I have from clients has kept me from writing the things I really want to write. Let’s be honest, short stories don’t pay for the twins’ ballet classes or fund our annual Christmas trip. So instead I spend my days writing for others, my evenings cooking and cleaning for my family, and month after month passes with all these characters and stories residing only in my imagination, not on paper.
It may sound selfish, but every time the mommy guilt sets in I remind myself that signing up for NaNoWriMo is my way of making a commitment to myself. I will make time to be a wife and mommy too but for 30 days I am going to place an emphasis on my own dreams. Seeing me pursue them may even teach my kids how to someday follow their own.
How I am Preparing
I have a rough idea of what I am going to be writing about next month but outlining is not my top priority in October. I am actually preparing for NaNoWriMo by banking as many blogs and assignments as possible for next month. I am going to need that extra work in my reserve on those more difficult writing days.
I am also catching up on laundry, getting the house organized, and doing as much holiday prep as possible now because I have a feeling I will become all but useless in November. If I also happen to get some outlining done, that is an added bonus.
Documenting the Experience
I am not delusional. I know this will be incredibly hard and, at times, so frustrating that I am sure I will want to quit. I am a first-timer and I will consider getting through this a victory. I did whip up a quick journal that is small enough to fit in my purse. I plan on documenting the next 30 days so when it is all said and done, I can look back on this experience for what it really was, not some romanticized version of it that I choose to remember next October when I think about doing this all over again.
Of course, along the way I will also be blogging about my experience and reading the blogs of fellow writers who are on the same journey. If I happen to come up with any tips or tricks, I will be sure to share those as well.