How NaNoWriMo made me a writer

Twelve years ago I became a writer. It may sound silly to those who have known me longer than that, as I have written poetry and short stories ever since I learned to write my abc’s.

But, that didn’t make me feel like a writer. What made me a writer was the challenge my husband uttered to me, around October 2003.  “You should write a novel, here is a challenge where you can do just that.”

I signed up, not believing that I could write a novel. I started on November 1, and finished on November 11.

I made it. With 5000 words to spare. I had written a novel and it was glorious in all its first draft cruddyness. I was a winner in more ways than one.

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo in most of the years since, and all those magnificent, practically uneditable first drafts made me the writer I am today.
I told my husband the other day, “I am editing a novel now and you know what? I have found my voice!”

I said it knowing I couldn’t have found my voice without those crappy novels to pave my way. I couldn’t have become the writer I am today without those novels.

On Sunday I embark on a new noveling journey with a rough outline of an idea that I love.

And, to make the circle complete, the ideas for the novel I wrote twelve years ago and this new novel come from the same starting point: I woke up one morning with a character darting in my mind and the start of their story.

Here’s to giving this idea a first draft before November is over!

sylvia

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