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Writing regularly during NaNoWriMo

I won NaNoWriMo!

Despite my personal challenges this year, I decided to join NaNoWriMo again this year. I’ve done it for nine years in a row and really didn’t want to miss this year. I figured, even if I didn’t win, I would have written a good chunk of my new novel.

Thanks to the unwavering support of my wonderful Nano buddies on Twitter, and the novel writing support group of the ACFW, I was able to win NaNoWriMo again this year! I built up a bit of a buffer in the beginning, as I had surgery in the third week, which really helped. After my surgery, I had more non-writing days than I had hoped, but I still managed to finish a day early.

My novel isn’t finished yet, but with 50,000 words under the belt, I’m well on my way to get it all done. I’m planning on getting my whole novel finished before Christmas, which is a bit ambitious since I haven’t written anything since NaNo ended. But with only 30,000 words to go, I think I’m in with a shot.

I’m so happy I participated in NaNoWriMo. Not just because I won, but because it has got me into the rhythm of writing regularly again. I’m not here to suggest everyone should write 1,667 words every single day, but there is definitely something to be said for writing regularly. Not only do you keep the momentum of your story going, but writing tends to come easier. It’s like working out. When you haven’t worked out for a while, getting back to regular exercise is really tough. You struggle to keep up and afterwards, you’re so tired and sore. But gradually, you get in better shape and each work out doesn’t feel like you’re dying.

For me, writing is similar. When I sat down to write on 1 November, I was really rusty. I hadn’t worked on a novel in probably a year, so starting a new one was difficult. I know I’ll have to majorly re-write the start of my novel, because it’s utterly rubbish. But that’s fine. That’s what editing is for.

Once I got into the habit of writing every day, it became easier. Not to say that the words flowed out of me easily every day, but I had an easier time formulating what I wanted to say and the story kept its momentum. My brain unfuzzed itself and I became more eloquent. Not every day was like that, of course. I still had days where I stared at the screen forever and came up with a handful of words. But overall, the writing became easier.

My experience is not universal, but I am very grateful I made the decision to push through my personal health challenges and participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. I received my eighth win, which makes me inordinately proud. I’m motivated to see this novel through to the end. The first draft may not be perfect (and really, which first draft is?) but it’s here and I can polish it. Thanks to months of plotting and planning, the structure is quite sound, so I’m hopeful I don’t have to have a lot of rewriting to do.

If you’ve never done NaNoWriMo before, I can heartily recommend it. And there’s no need to wait until next year: you can participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July. It works the same as NaNoWriMo, except you set your own goal. Give it a try!

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The Calm I Seek is out now!

With love, betrayal and grief disrupting her perfectly peaceful life, will she fight for the happiness she deserves?

After the violent death of her husband, Rebecca Holmes is content leading a quiet life spending time with her sisters and niece. When her younger sister Hannah asks her to plan her wedding, Rebecca discovers her friends and family all think her life is empty. Determined to prove them wrong, Rebecca takes up salsa lessons where she meets the charismatic salsa teacher, Gabriel Rodriguez.

Falling in love is the last thing Rebecca wanted to do, but she is inexplicably drawn to Gabriel. Opening her heart again is terrifying, especially after what happened with her late husband. With the help of the local vicar, Rebecca starts to believe that maybe she deserves a happy ending after all.

Just when she’s decided to give her heart to Gabriel, a betrayal brings back demons from the past. Heartbroken, Rebecca closes herself off again, but when disaster strikes her family, she is forced to confront her past actions. Can there be redemption for her and can she forgive those who betrayed her?

The Calm I Seek is a heartbreaking novel about forgiveness and redemption.

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