It's the first year I've failed as "Roxy" after five straight wins. Even more wins if you count my now dead persona.
It's surreal and hard to swallow. Especially after I started out on November 1st with 5k.
This November kicked my real life ass. Between hubby pulling extra time a state away for his new job, the house needing work, the car needing work, and bills popping up out of nowhere, I struggled. Add in extra hours at my evil day job, and some minor health issues, and my whole month was spent in emergency management.
My morning routine flew out the window. My life revolved around cooking for the family because of no money or time to eat out, and taking vitamin C like there was no tomorrow, because there was no option for me to get sick.
However, this month was not a wash or a fail by any stretch of the imagination. I did a lot of really cool things this month. And I learned a lot! Which is what I want from any NaNoWriMo adventure.
What did I learn? Here are my Top 5.
1. I found out daily double posts are not realistic. I was able to keep up for a couple weeks, but it wasn't realistic to blog, post, and write on an every day schedule. I've done it in the past, but my home life then was very different than it is now, and I need to rework my expectations. I realized how important my mental health is. And I found that taking the time I needed to not break down, was vital.
2. I learned I really like live-streaming and being on video. I only did one live "write-in" but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I liked talking on camera, and it's something I didn't realize about myself. So I have a new direction to explore.
3. I learned that while I can plot, it's harder for me to adjust on the fly when I have a plot written down. So until I can stick to a plot as written, plotting and fast-drafting together doesn't work well for me. Whether or not this plot style I've tried will net less time in edits still remains to be seen, but I'm going to get some writing done after this post. If I finish a book in two months that requires half the editing of a fast draft written in one...well...hell, it's worth the extra time.
4. I learned how much my hubby pimps my writing when I'm not around. This was one of those weird moments that spurred me to keep working on my manuscript. Hubby's new job takes him on the road a lot and when he's home I try to make it a point to spend some time with him. Which took away from the writing, but my own HEA beats any book ending. He told me about how his work conversation with colleagues turned into him sharing my pen name and some book info. (PS, if you're here because of my hubby, I appreciate it. Hit me up if you want a signed paper copy. I have extras for sale.)
5. I learned that winning or losing NaNoWriMo doesn't define me as a writer. This should have been obvious, but it surprised me that I needed to learn this lesson the most. I am a huge proponent of NaNoWriMo, and I wouldn't change the opportunities and the friends it's afforded me. BUT, I also think it was good for me to not hit my 50k this month. Deadlines are valuable, but it's more important to me now to write a book worth putting up for sale. Could I have written 50k this month? Yes. Would it have been a work I was proud to publish? With the stress and mental fatigue I was dealing with...not a chance in hell.
There has been a lot of talk among people (I'm not naming names. No. Not even in DMs) who are profitable in this business. These are people who are using ghostwriters and only working hard on the first 10-20% of their books, because that's all they need to do to sell them. I don't think that could ever be me. And maybe that means I won't get to live off my book sales, but some things are more important than money to me, and integrity is one of those things.
My books might not ever hit a list, but I hope I've made people smile with my stories. I've had authors and editors I respect in this business compliment my voice and story-telling.
Through my journey so far, I've learned I'm an author. I've been published and reviewed, and no one can take that away from me. Not even a NaNoWriMo loss.
I'm off to write and take some of what I've learned with me.
Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Did you hit your purple bar? What did you learn from this process? I'd love to hear about it.