I participated in NaNoWriMo, or the National Novel Writing Month challenge, this past November. This is the first time I'd ever entered the challenge, which is to write a novel, or 50,000 words, in 30 days. Lots of my friends had participated before, but I'd always held back. I didn't think I could accomplish that kind of challenge because of my particular writing style. I'd always written sporadically and sometimes manically, writing for 12-18 hours at a stretch for a couple of days and then not writing for days. I wrote Blue Mountain Magick, my longest book at 108,000 words, in 3 months, writing obsessively over long 4 day weekends.
I always wrote in spurts of creativity. I thought that was how it was done. You sat back and waited for the muse to show up, then you rode her until she was worn out. Then you waited again (preferably drinking whiskey and chain-smoking). That was my concept of how creative writing was done - how "real" writers did it.
When I began going to writing conferences and workshops and meeting other authors, I marveled at their discipline. I met successful writers who wrote every day and many aspiring or emerging writers who held day jobs and wrote on their lunch breaks or woke up to write from 4-6am before going to work. I met editors who want their authors to produce, and produce regularly. But I persisted in my idea that this wasn't for me.
I decided to give NaNo a try because I'd been stalled in my writing and I thought maybe I could get a jump start if I was prodded a bit. I signed up and joined a support group and found I would have to report my word counts - publically - every day. Accountability!
Our first step was to set personal goals. My 2 goals were to write 60,000 words, instead of the target 50,000, and to write something every day. I held myself to those goals, writing many nights after work when I would not have written otherwise just to get a word count to turn in before midnight.
I fell short of my 60,000 word goal, although I did complete enough to "win" the challenge, ending up with 53,000 words. But I accomplished the more important goal of writing every single day. The muse wasn't always there, and the writing wasn't always great, but I wrote. I produced. And I learned that my writing style is whatever I make work for me.
I write fantasy and paranormal romance. I love having the ability to create new worlds and new histories. My first book LARAMIE MOON will be coming out soon, so stay tuned.