November: she took out my candidate, my football team, my refrigerator, my phone screen, and the power in my writing room, but she couldn’t stop me from writing. She stressed me, depressed me, disappointed and annoyed me, but it was all in vain, because I still wrote 50,000 words and met my goal of participating in my 10th NaNoWriMo.

November can be a challenge even in a good year. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, everyone departs for our respective family homesteads at exactly the same time, clogging the roadways and stressing us out long before we arrive at whatever family situation awaits us. Then it seems like the second you eat your last bite of turkey the next day, everyone is asking you what your travel plans are for Christmas and what you want for gifts. There are sales you have to take advantage of RIGHT NOW but you’ve given exactly zero thought as to what you want to buy others. Add onto that a personal challenge to write 50,000 words hastily formed into sentences at the expense of sleep, social engagements, holiday planning, and sanity. Every year I find myself asking, “Should I really be doing this?” The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo I didn’t finish. I had only just begun to take my desire to write a novel seriously, and when my husband’s car got stolen, and my friend at work suddenly quit, I didn’t know what to do but give up and deal with life. “Just bad luck,” I assumed. But subsequent years proved mercilessly that life won’t stop so I can write a book. Writing, plotting, and revising would have to happen despite any resistance that springs up.

Over the last 10 Novembers I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve seen how I work under pressure, come up with new ideas, and work towards goals. I’ve gotten in hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of words of practice at writing. That doesn’t necessarily make me any good at it, but it feels good to try. To study, to collect data, to build skills doing a thing I love to do. And it’s always a treat to get to share some of my words with you. Thanks for reading these ones here.