National Novel Writing Month


Today I want to travel back in time with you and talk about my history with NaNoWriMo, one of the greatest annual events of all time.

It's when writers around the world pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in November, encourage each other, join in writing sprints and try to just have fun with storytelling!

Nanowrimo is a non-profit organization that supports writers young and old with education and networking worldwide, also offering us sponsors and gift codes if we manage to 'win' aka write 50,000 words in 30 days. It's free to join in, so head to nanowrimo.org and register already!

Once upon a time it was the year 2014...

I was fifteen years old, and by this point I had written stories my entire life, but every novel I started turned into a failure, and I was struggling hard with my writer confidence.


During the summer I had written about seven different opening chapters to different novels. A futuristic space adventure, a gory dystopian zombie explosion romance, a heartbreaking robot invasion story about identity in a humanoid world, a badass assassin and princess love story, bloodthirsty mermaids eating pirates and taking over the world, dragons enslaved by half-elves breaking free in the greatest battle ever known (this one also very gory), a girl with fire magic hunted by every soldier in the kingdom because the king wanted to use her as a weapon...

You get the gist. I had an imagination, to say the least.

See, when I was younger it had been okay to jump from idea to idea and explore different worlds, tie plots together from different stories and just have fun with it because it wasn't supposed to make any sense. It was just something I did for fun, and it wasn't serious.

But around the age of 14 I struggled with my identity a lot, because people kept asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and they wouldn't accept 'singer' as a real answer anymore. It was cute when I was little, but 14 is the magic age when you're sort of a child but adults expect you to think realistically and strategically.

So I started saying 'author' because that was so much more realistic and totally didn't result in more rolling eyes and sighs... xD

But I've stuck with my decision, and ever since then the clock has been ticking, and adults have been expecting me to whip out the next great american novel or give up on my dreams.

Doubt me all you want, but this gal ain't giving up!

And this leads me back to being fifteen and writing all those opening chapters. I needed to start writing novels, and fast, or I'd have to get a boring real job, ew!

In the writer world, we have a definition for what was wrong with me. We call it Shiny New Idea Syndrome.

And I was done being plagued by fluffy plot bunnies and sparkling new ideas! I needed a cure!

So one day, magically, I stumbled upon nanowrimo.org while trying to find a solution for my problems. I discovered writing advice videos, blogs and oh so many communities of daydreamers just like me! I set up my own writer instagram account, registered for nanowrimo and spent all of October doodling in class and inventing cool names for my deathly vampire cast.

My parents didn't like that I spent so much time at the computer, and they couldnt' quite understand how this nanowrimo thing was for me. So every day after school I would stay in the corridor and write until I was so hungry I had to go home for. I will forever cherish those moments, although I never finished that novel either, or won my first nanowrimo.


But it was the first time I wrote over 20,000 words on one single project, and it gave me such a boost in confidence that I wrote two entire novels (horrendous novels, let me tell you!) in my remaining time at high school: 68,000 words (my first nanowrimo win in 2015!) and 56,000 words (my second nanowrimo win in 2016!).

Luckily they were very short, so I don't feel that guilty for totally giving up on them. Those novels were so bad! But they were amazing practice! Because of them, I knew how to write a book from start to finish.

I graduated high school in 2017with a much clearer idea of who my author identity was and what genres worked best for me. And I don't think that would've been the case if I hadn't pushed myself so hard to write 1,667 words daily each November.


In the fall of that year I started university, and although I enjoyed it, things started to go downhill from there. I couldn't sit and write stories at school anymore. This education had to be taken seriously, and I had to be fully present! And as it turned out, I stopped writing almost completely.


Last year when I was very depressed, I participated in Nanowrimo and pledged to write every day just for myself. I wrote poetry, continued old projects, journaled my feelings and even scribbled up some old songs... And I made it to the finish line and bought myself Scrivener with the winner discount. I won Nanowrimo 2018, despite all odds!


And here we are, in 2019, many lessons learned and many mountains climbed. I'm in a much better place mentally, I have ambitious novel-writing plans for this November, and don't tell anyone, but I've already started writing my Nanowrimo novel. Shhhh. Sometimes you just can't help yourself.

This has been my Nanowrimo Journey. 5 Nanowrimos and 3 wins later, I'm proud of all the 248,047 words I've written so far.

Happy Nanowrimo 2019, and may the odds be ever in your favor!


Now go add me as a buddy! My username is Storyworldofem (who could've guessed?)

Click here to learn about my Nanowrimo project!

Much love,
Em






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