Monday, December 4, 2017

When The Words You Write Are Frightful…


by Maureen L. Bonatch

…But not having an empty, blank page is delightful. When you’ve only got a month to go, let words flow, let words flow, let words flow! 

Or How To Keep Writing that Novel Even When You Want To Quit. 


Forgive my attempt at butchering what may be one of your favorite Christmas songs, but I am fresh out of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWri) and high off a win. (A win meaning that I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November). 

I’ve written about NaNoWri many times before and addressed things such as:


So I’m sure you’re wondering what else I could possibly have to say about National Novel Writing Month—don’t tempt me. I did just vomit out 50,000 words in a tight time frame. 

But despite participating for the past 10 years, this year’s NaNoWri was a little different. Even though I love NaNoWri and look forward to it every year. This year was the first time since I started winning over the last 6 years that I was tempted to quit.

What Kept My Fingers on the Keyboard

You Can’t Edit A Blank Page (I’ve tried. It’s Useless)
  • I may have a ‘hot mess’ of 50,000 words, but there is bound to be some diamonds in the rough once I tear it apart with editing.
Peer Pressure (AKA: Find Your People)
  • I joined several teams (SavvyAuthors NaNoWri Bootcamp and From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW)) who competed for the most words for the month. There’s nothing like a little competition to get me up and at the keyboard at the crack of dawn. The sprints, motivational quotes and team spirit helped as well.
Be A Role Model (Moms Can’t Be Quitters)
  • Besides my teams, for the last few years I’ve not competed in NaNoWri alone. For two years both my daughters joined in, but didn’t make it too far through the month (they were around 13), last year one of my daughters did NaNoWri with me but she didn’t hit the word count, but this year she did! When I was tempted to give it up I'd see her determinedly pushing through the word counts. When I showed her my winning certificate on the 29th, it pushed her enough to finish over 5,000 words in one day and make goal!

What I Learned From This Year

  • Prepare Before You Start: I don’t outline, but prior years when I wrote a brief summary of the story, or at least a list of plot points I ended up with a more coherent story—that still required heavy editing.
  • Don’t Be A “Yes” Girl: I knew from the start of the month that I’d overextended myself with personal, professional and writing obligations in addition to NaNoWri. But I was too stubborn to miss my favorite month.

Kind of Like My Christmas Tree

As the final days of NaNoWri wound down, the story hung heavy on my mind as we put up our Christmas decorations. Our tree isn’t
one of the ones that is color coordinated, or themed, it’s more of what I like to think of as a memory tree. I buy an ornament for my girls and husband each year to symbolize something from that year. 

As I watched the tree spin on the rotating stand, with it’s collection of ornaments that didn’t quite go together, but each spectacular on their own. I realized that’s kind of how my NaNoWri story turned out this year. 

Now to make those pieces mesh into a perfect whole.

My 2012 NaNoWri Winner!
My 2013 NaNoWri Winner!






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Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four
seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

6 comments:

Francesca Quarto said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement and self-discipline that I often have to apply as I stare at the computer. In times like those, I ask myself a self-motivating question: "This? or Laundry?!"

Happy Holidays Maureen to you and yours!

Francesca Q.

Victoria Craven said...

Great job. I too can get distracted by other things going on in my life. I have to keep myself motivated. It sounds like you're balancing things quite well.

CJ Burright said...

Way to go, Maureen! Not only for getting your 50,000 words, but for keeping at it even through the tough times. For me, having a close-knit group of other writers on the journey with you, checking in and keeping tabs, motivating and inspiring is one of the main factors that helps me to keep plugging along.

Diane Burton said...

Congrats, Maureen! I admire you and all the writers who join NaNoWriMo. Congrats, too, to your daughter for reaching her goal. Yay! Support goes such a long way. That's something I see from this group and other writer groups I belong to. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Maureen said...

Ahh yes, laundry is always vying for attention. Thanks ladies! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you all.

Nancy Gideon said...

Love the Christmas tree analogy. Yes, it's exactly like that. Good for you for sticking with it. I'm just learning to use writing sprints and write-ins as tools and have found them helpful but NaNo hasn't crept onto my screen of possibilities . . . yet. Happy Holidays and enjoy that tree!!