Each time I do the National Novel Writing Month, it presents a different challenge. From day to day within that single month, the challenges may vary, but each year has its own overall challenge "theme" as well.
In 2006, the first year I did NaNoWriMo, I was solitary still. I took the challenge, oh yes, but I saw it only as a 50,000-word production goal. Get to 50K, and I'm done. I stayed out of writing groups, did not contact other locals, just put my head down and wrote.
It wasn't fun. I finished that November with 50,028 words and shoved the Indigo Reunion file into a folder on my hard drive. I wouldn't touch it again until 2013.
Last year, I got out that old file as I debated whether to try again. Reading through it, I realized that there was much more of the story left untold. In November 2013, I set out to tell it. This time, I resolved, I would take full advantage of the resources now offered on the web site. I took every suggestion, reached for every badge. The only thing I didn't do last year was link up with a writing buddy.
And to my surprise, in 2013 the process was a lot more fun! I not only wrote and wrote, I tweeted, and joined Hangouts and took WordSprint challenges. I set up a synopsis, and an extract, and the writing flowed easier. I made a mock cover for my novel, and the writing went easier still. I gave up perfection and went for sheer volume, and finished Indigo Homecoming November 30th with 70,852 words, validated.
I joined several writers' communities on Google+, my social network, and kept the enthusiasm for writing bubbling throughout 2014.
I spent a month and a half editing Indigo Reunion (renamed Indigo Reaping) and Indigo Homecoming (renamed Indigo Reunion), getting them ready to publish. My publisher suggested waiting until the trilogy, which would include the expected 2014 NaNovel, was complete, then publishing them in a sequence to boost sales. (That plan also included renaming of the novels, to a similar pattern, "Indigo Re-" something.)
I danced into October, confident that I would be ready for writing this year. Then an idea for a YA novel (about a family moving to town, whose children are all geniuses) began to take over my NaNovel conceptualization. Would I even be able to write the final Indigo novel of the trilogy this year?
Fortunately I figured out how to put this idea on ice, ready to thaw and write about at some later date (maybe next November?), and ended October with cover art, synopsis and extract for Indigo Redemption ready to go. (Except it was called Indigo Resolution at fist, but let's forget that wimpy title!)
Oh, I was really ready for November to come this year. I was eager to find out what having a writing buddy was like. From last year, I knew which things I had tried didn't work for me (like WordSprints and too many Hangouts), and the things that did (Cover Art and Extracts, regular hours of writing in the comfortable, non-home environment of Chick-fil-A).
And I was determined to post every day about the process, even though that would not count toward my novel's word total.
I went to the forums looking for someone who might be interested in a writing buddy, and found a woman in Texas, a teen boy in high school band, and a teen girl in California, all first-time WriMos. We linked up, and were off! Along the way I added another buddy, met by chance on Google+, whose approach to writing seemed similar to mine. I thought I would be a mentor—instead, the level of mutual support just from linking up with people involved in the same battles I was fighting turned out to be decidedly in my favor!
And now, after struggles that led me through the weeds and over the heights I've blogged about this whole month, I sit with perhaps four-fifths of a novel complete, a winner's badge, and a NaNoWriMo Wizard wristband that I will wear until I finish and publish Indigo Redemption.
I will keep writing. I will edit my novel. It will be published!
Watch for the Indigo trilogy on Amazon...
Total: 66,425 words, validated.