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Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

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If you’ve wondered where I disappeared to over the past few months, I’m here to confess that I’ve fallen into an imaginary world of my own making.

It all started a year ago. I joined thousands of others from all over the world and made the commitment to write an entire novel in one month. (Some of you know this strange ritual of insanity as NaNoWriMo.) I ate too much chocolate and slept far too little and somehow managed to finish my novel in thirty days.

I named it One act of Defiance and then refused to look at it for two months. Finally, I reread my book and I loved my characters, but I knew it could be better. I thought of great novels and movies and tried to think of the things that made them great. Certainly a key factor is deep characters that we can empathize with and who change over the course of the story, but other factors are mystery and high stakes and action and a deep theme.

I brainstormed ideas to make my book better, and I realized I had two choices. I could go ahead and edit my novel as it was, or I could completely rewrite it and make the story bigger and deeper. I ended up taking my characters and my first chapter, and I started again.

I worked with a few editors and mentors. I sought out critique and tried to apply their suggestions. The second time writing my book was harder and took longer.

I decided to enter my novel in a few contests. This morning I learned that my book was long-listed for the Caledonia Novel Award and I was asked to send my full manuscript, and then tonight I found out that my book received the third-place prize in the Page Turner contest. I’m so thankful for all of the amazing people who supported, encouraged, and taught me on this journey!

I’m afraid I’m only resurfacing from my imaginary world briefly. Did I mention that I entered my book in these contests before it was quite finished? I have seven days to write the last 10,000 words, so my novel can be considered for the Caledonia Novel Award.

Good thing I work well under pressure. 😉

Much love,

Rachel

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When the Pieces Come Together

Photo credit: Vjeran

Photo credit: Vjeran

Crazy. November was crazy. Many of you know that on November 1st, I set out to write an entire novel in one month. There were days that I felt like giving up, days that I was sure I couldn’t go on. But I kept on writing until the ache in my shoulders was a constant reminder of the task ahead of me.

I reached my goal and crossed the figurative finish line.

I was exhilarated and exhausted. I can’t describe how weary I was at the end of that month. I’d deprived myself of too much sleep, fresh air, and exercise. I’d tried to juggle running my home and homeschooling my six kids with writing for hours every day. It was just one month, though. I survived, and I’m grateful for what I was able to accomplish.

In the mist of it all, I discovered who my audience is–who I’m writing for. It’s women who love birth.

And this is where the pieces of my life fit together. I’d been working towards becoming a certified birth doula. I had taken courses, attended a birth, and read everything on birth I could get my hands on. But I thought I might have to give it all up, because I was also working really hard at becoming an author. I didn’t know if it made sense to try and do both. These two pieces of my life go together beautifully, though, now that I know my novels will center around doulas and midwives and women giving birth.

Yay!

I just added a new page on my website that gives some specifics on the doula work I’ll be doing. You can check out Cherishing the Moment Doula Services here.

I’ll be starting the long process of editing and rewriting my novel in January. My goal is to have it ready to submit to an agent at the end of 2015. And maybe one day–not too far in the future–you’ll see my labour of love in print.

Blessings! ❤ Rachel

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Something to Aim At

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Photo credit: thesaint

Perhaps November should be called national blog neglecting month. Has it really been three weeks since my last post?

At the end of last month, I told you that I was taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where hundreds of thousands of writers set out to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

I’ve been writing like a maniac, often waking up at 5:00 in the morning in order to write for three hours straight before my kids get up. I take my computer with me to the church where my children take band lessons, cloister myself in the church nursery, and type away. Any chance I get, I’m writing.

I am eyeball deep in my manuscript with 45,000 words locked in the hard drive of my computer. (Yes, I did back it up!) My characters delight and horrify me by their decisions, and sometimes I can’t sleep while the story plays out in my mind. I’ve kept the goal before me: I will win NaNoWriMo this year!

But then some doubt entered my mind this week. What if I can’t reach 50,000 words before the 30th? What if I don’t finish my novel before the end of the month? There are so many responsibilities with homeschooling and raising a family. There are baby showers to attend and friends and family to connect with by email, phone, or in person. There are important things to do that don’t just go away because I have a goal.

I realized that it’s okay if I don’t win NaNoWriMo this year. I’m going to keep working on it. It’s still my goal, but even if I don’t “win” I still wrote almost a whole novel in one month.

Goals are important. Without a goal, I couldn’t have made it this far in my book. And like a friend reminded me this week: if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. But a goal is just that—something to aim at. It shouldn’t cause anxiety, guilt or disappointment.

The lesson God wanted to teach me this week is that time spent with the people I love is never wasted. Never.

 

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50,000 Words

Cover 2

November is only two days away. Yes, I’ve been counting down the days. November is NaNoWriMo–or National Novel Writing Month. My goal, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Crazy? Yes. Exhilarating? Absolutely!

I took part in NaNoWriMo 2013 and wrote the rough draft of my novel Letting You Go. Okay, so I didn’t actually “win” because I only wrote 34,000 words during November. But, really, I did win because I came away with a story that I’m happy with–that I never would have written if I hadn’t challenged myself to do something crazy.

So here’s a little peek into Letting You Go. I need to do a lot of work on this book before it’s ready to submit to an agent or publisher, but I’m on a journey and loving it!

Blessings! ❤ Rachel

 

Letting you Go–Overview:

Lillian leads a perfect life as a homeschooling mother to her three sons. Her life is shattered, though, when her husband David and their sons are killed in a mysterious accident. Lillian refuses to believe the evidence of David’s shadowy other life until she discovers a hidden fortune and an illicit affair.  She spirals into despair until she finds healing in the fostering of tiny, drug-addicted babies Sophie and Timmy, but her wounds are opened again when Timmy is incomprehensibly ripped from their family. Hurting for Sophie and in agony over her own loss, Lillian must learn to forgive, and to love the birthmother who seeks to reclaim Sophie.

 

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