All this talk about NaNoWriMo coming up soon has made me really excited about this year’s event. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know that I pretty much can’t stop talking about it. The first time I “won” NaNoWriMo was one of the most amazing experiences of my writing life, and I can’t wait to do it again. For months, I’ve been dreaming of what I would write this year, and it’s almost time to put my words on paper. I had originally planned to a sequel to my Merrick Maples story, but then a better idea came to me–a gift from the writing gods. I met this amazing, fully formed character named Isobel, and within an hour of meeting her, I knew her entire story, the background of her people, and what she wanted me to say about her. (Isobel says hi, and wants me to tell you that you’ll learn more about her next month.)
But, of course, with each new NaNoWriMo project comes the bundle of nerves and fears that always go along with it. The What-ifs move back to town and ruin all the fun. I’m plagued with questions like, “What if you don’t have enough time to get your project done?” and “What if you get stuck because your writing buddies are all in different states this year?” Needless to say, the what-ifs always make me wonder if I can really take on this monstrous event again. I’ll think about previous projects and think that it was so much easier to write them. I had done some research on pirates and elves before starting my NaNoWriMo project last year, so I had a pretty good idea of how things would go. But this year? Well, this year, there’s no research to be done, and the what-ifs are reminding me that I may or may not have enough information to make it through the entire thirty days.
And that’s when I tell them to get lost. I’ve read Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! several times, and each year, I take his advice to heart like it’s my first ‘WriMo event. After that, I think about the enormous amount of joy I felt after I won my first NaNoWriMo event. That “win” showed me that I can truly do anything I want to achieve. Sure, writing 50,000 words in thirty days seemed crazy (and many people called me crazy for trying it!), but in the end, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my writing life. I wouldn’t trade that feeling of success for anything. And when I think about that victory, suddenly the what-ifs don’t seem so powerful anymore.