Written by Karen D. Swim
When I committed myself to National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) I had no idea how it would impact my days. Before the month began, I planned to awaken at 5 am, go for my morning run and then write. By 8 am I would be at my desk and ready to continue on with my pre-NaNo schedule.
My plan fell apart on day 1. 5am came and went but I never saw it. I awakened in a panic at 6:30 am and groggily tried to reorganize my day. I took deep breaths and fell back on Plan B, write, work, then work out. By 10 am, I was on to Plan C. Who knew that the first 1700 words would not fly from my fingers in one hour? On Day 1, I had a new respect for NaNo, like running a marathon it was a distance that demanded respect.
I plodded through week one. It was neither smooth nor elegant but I stumbled through. In week two I fell into a groove, still a little sore from week one but the movement was getting easier. My glee over finding the right gear was however, short lived. In week two, every client that had thought of using my services decided to sign me up. I found myself knee deep in a business feast (no complaints mind you!) with little time left to breathe between bites. My idyllic dreams of luxuriously writing, working and tweeting went up in a puff of smoke. Getting up at 5 or even 6 was out of the question when I was going to bed at 1am.
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My phone was ringing off the hook, my days were filled with back to back meetings, and in spite of my persistence my email climbed to over 800 messages. My father, who is recovering from a stroke was also still hospitalized. I was being pulled in so many directions I felt a little like Gumby. With only so many hours in the day, I dropped several of my spinning plates. I was tired and found myself crying over cell phone commercials, and falling snow. I was a mess but I was still writing.
In week three, the work kept pouring in but my Dad finally came home from the hospital. I was still on target with NaNo and somehow I had settled into the craziness of my life. I sometimes forgot to eat and had more bad hair days than I care to share but I made it.
Now, here we are in the final stretch, week 4. I am roughly 4500 words away from goal, and will finish ahead of the November 30th deadline. The words are pouring out so fast that I can’t type fast enough. Business is still coming in and I am managing my customer’s expectations and enjoying the work. I have missed tweeting and blog commenting and visiting with friends. It has been a wild and wacky ride but in spite of it all, something magical happened this month.
I pushed the boundaries of my limitations and learned that I am capable of more than I believed. I failed early and often and am thankful for the lessons. I grew more passionate about all of you. I really missed you and had time to really reflect on how thankful I am to be part of this wonderful blogging community.
Even though I was MIA (missing in action) when I popped my head up in twitter or stopped by your place for a visit, I was warmly welcomed. I got messages of encouragement and support and continued to be inspired by your talent. So it seemed appropriate on this Thanksgiving Eve to say THANK YOU. You let me in your space, and I don’t take that for granted. You so graciously share your ideas, dreams, and fears. As you learn and grow you help me to do the same. You make me laugh and sometimes make me cry. This blogging thing is so much more than publishing content, it is being part of a community of people. You are my neigbhors and friends and I am just so happy to share space with all of you!
Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for each and every one of you!
Karen Swim says
Hope all my US friends had a Happy Thanksgiving and hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I took the long weekend off and did nothing. It was awesome!
@Jaden, LOL! Yea, big plans in my head, not so much when implemented! 🙂 Congrats on your screenplay, I can’t imagine tackling that in a month!
@Lillie, thank you for the permission to write pure green dreck. It was a huge help to me! You are awesome Lillie!
@Alex, I am dancing as I type this and totally in the mood for a Par-tay! Woot! In fact, let’s just get our party on all month long! 🙂
@Ulla, big huge hugs back my friend! I am truly thankful for your friendship and encouragement Ulla! You are one special person!
@Alina, my smiling, ever optimistic friend – thank you! You are such a wealth of encouragement and inspiration, I am all too happy to pour a little back into your cup! 🙂
@ Jamie HOORAY! You were the little Wrimo angel on my shoulder (and the other 40,000 people you motivated). CONGRATULATIONS to you my friend! I am very excited for you! Those Wrimo emails rocked, I wish I could get them year round!
Jamie Grove - How Not To Write says
HOORAY!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! 🙂
I know how hard it was to fight through this month and get this done. My own mind has been filled with thoughts of crazy work deadlines and a million other things. Watching other Wrimos like you push through their own troubles and deadlines helped me do what I needed to do to make a mad dash to the end!
Alina Popescu says
Karen, I have to thank you for setting such a great example! I have been fighting with rearranging my daily schedule and will start over in a few days. Your experience is just the inspiration I needed to make it through! Congrats on pulling it off and a big fat thank you 🙂
Ulla Hennig says
Congratulations and a big hug! I can only say THANK YOU back – for showing me what can be done.
And what you said about blogging is absolutely true – being part of a community of people. We don’t celebrate thanksgiving here, so I am sitting at my computer at work just now. Happy thanksgiving to you!
Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome says
Wow! Well done! You totally rocked NaNo! Woot woot! Party for Karen!
Lillie Ammann says
Congratulations for accomplishing your goal in spite of the obstacles. You are an inspiration!
“5 am, go for my morning run and then write. By 8 am I would…” Dang, you are motivated!
“5am came and went but I never saw it.”
Ok… laughing… Now I relate to that a little more.
“on to Plan C”
Oh, yeah. Now we are talkin’.
I am sorry to hear about your papa’s trouble. I pray he recovers well.
Yes, when I was doing my screenplay in one month, of course, that is when my mellow life suddenly turned itself upside down on top of itself. Seems like the way life goes.
Wow! Am glad you are able to meet your writing goals despite all of that. Impressive.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Karen Swim says
@Brad, Happy Thanksgiving! Yes smile and tears and moments of craziness! LOL!
@Joanna, my friend, I am truly thankful for your friendship, encouragement, and mentoring. 🙂
@Robert, Happy Thanksgiving and congratulations on your triple blog domination! LOL! I’m off to catch up with you now! 🙂
@Melissa *linking arms and dancing on the table!* Congratulations and hugs to you! I read your post last night and cheered and of course every time I upload my word count, I check yours too. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a party! Whoo hoo!
Melissa Donovan says
Hugs all around! Congrats on being so near the finish line ahead of time. That’s awesome 🙂 This has definitely been one crazy month and I’m sure once it’s over, many of us will look back and say “Wow, did we really do all of that in just 30 days?”
Robert Hruzek says
Way to go, Karen! I’m so proud of your efforts in spite of the challenges – it’s what makes you a better you in the long run anyway, right?
Congratulations on reaching the lofty goal… and by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!
Joanna Young says
Karen, you never cease to amaze me.
I’m so glad you’ve got this close to finishing the book, and have gained so much from the process.
As for what you wrote in the last few paragraphs: absolutely, me too, and I also give thanks for the kindness and friendship that this onlinen community has gifted me. Not least knowing you 🙂
Brad Shorr says
Happy Thanksgiving, Karen! Glad you’ve been able to keep your nose to the grindstone and still have a smile on your face. That’s not easy to do.