... is the WRONG attitude. (fanpop)
My name is Kathleen S. Allen and this is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo. I had heard of it before but didn’t know what it was until a friend of mine suggested I do it. I looked on their website and decided to go for it. I was working 60-80 hours a week and I would come home, eat dinner and sit at my computer, writing my word count for the day (around 1667). Sometimes I got up early and wrote before going to work. I’d been kicking around doing a Young Adult fantasy novel for a while and I thought NaNoWriMo would give me a good incentive to start it.
I drew up an outline a week before November 1st and as soon as NaNoWriMo started, I began writing. I made it through to the 50K word count in three weeks. I had a rough draft of my faerie novel and continued to write on it through December until it was just over 85K. I spent the next couple of months editing it and began to send it out in April, 2011. In May I got an offer from a small publisher in Canada to publish it. LORE OF FEI is going to be published in April, 2012 by Muse It Up Publishing.
As I was thinking about NaNoWriMo I spoke to a couple of friends who joined. One ended up not doing any writing and one got to 20K and gave up. I wondered… what qualities did those who win NaNoWriMo have? Why would anyone in their right mind agree to write a 50K word novel in thirty days??? I am a competitive person by nature; I hate to lose at anything. I’m one of those people who “goes for the jugular” when I play a game. I like to compete against others, but myself? Not so much. (I usually lose. LOL)
I thought about it after I finished NaNoWriMo last year and I talked to my friend who introduced it to me and asked her what qualities she saw that helped me win NaNoWriMo. “You are tenacious, determined and persistent, kinda like a Bull Terrier, you don’t let go until someone pulls your jaw off them.” Hmm. . . at least she didn’t say I looked like a Bull Terrier!
Let’s look at each of those qualities and see if they measure up.
Dictionary.com defines tenacious as:
- Holding fast, characterized by keeping a firm hold
- Highly retentive
- Pertinacious, persistent, stubborn or obstinate
- Holding together; cohesive, not easily pulled asunder; tough
For my purposes I think that the first and third definitions suits NaNoWriMo the best. Yes, I kept a firm hold on my story as I wrote it and I was tough about doing my word count every day. Yes, I am tenacious.
Determined is defined as:
- Resolute; staunch
- Decided; settled; resolved
During the month of November I was staunch, decided and resolved to finish my novel in thirty days! So, yes, I am determined.
Persistent is defined as:
- Persisting, ESPECIALLY IN SPITE OF OPPOSTION, OBSTACLES, DISCOURAGEMENT (caps and boldface are mine)
- Lasting or enduring tenaciously (there’s that word again)
- Constantly repeated; continued
When I did NaNoWriMo I was able to keep writing in spite of my horrendous work schedule (hence the bold face) and in fact, writing every day was a stress release. I looked forward to sitting down at my laptop at the end of a long workday or before I started what I knew would be another long day.
Writing kept me sane. And, I’m happy to say that I no longer have that job, so my stress level is better and not working has allowed me to concentrate fully on my writing. I have published ten novels since NaNoWriMo on Kindle/Nook/Smashwords, another one came out in August with xoxopublishing.com, and a murder mystery was just released by Gypsy Shadow in September, 2011.
What qualities do you have to win NaNoWriMo?
Determined, persistent and tenacious works for me!
Kathleen S. Allen has been writing since she was eight years old. Okay, she hand copied her poems onto plain white paper, paper punched three holes in the sides and threaded red ribbon through the holes that she tied with a bow. Ta Dah! Her first book! She writes in different genres but YA is her favourite. Find her books on Amazon.com, they are available in print and as Ebooks. Find her book trailers on You Tube. She is on Twitter as @kathleea and on Facebook as Witch Hunter.