When I first started writing, back in 2013, I had a lot on my plate. I had just started writing the first draft of my book; I still had to learn the craft; I was participating in a Read & Critique group, where we would critique each other’s manuscripts; and I was reading every “how to” book on writing I could get my hands on. As I said, I was busy. 

So when November rolled around, I learned about the fantastic National Novel Writing Month program, where you commit to write 50k+ words in thirty days. Easy, right? 

As much as the idea sounded wonderful, I was too overwhelmed with the beginning of my writing journey to even entertain the idea of participating. (It’s probably a good thing, I didn’t know that it would take six years to finish book #1.) So when my R&C teacher asked if I would join them, I politely declined.

Little did I know that I would still participate that year in NaNoWriMo. Probably not in the way the organizers imagined it. Or would ever recommend it to anyone.

You see, it was the week of Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon and I felt particularly inspired by it. An idea for a Steampunk story came to me, and I wanted to quickly jot it down before I would forget it. Six hours later, I had 10,100 words. 

Oops! I had the option to stop and put it away for later (read: never). Or…

I could keep going and finish what I started. That was one of the main goals of NaNoWriMo – to finish a draft. So that was what I decided.

All I had to do was to write 10k words a day, for four more days. It was a plan. Sort of…

The next day, after writing another six hours, I had 21,473 words. 

The third day, it was up to 30,007. The fourth, 40,018. Finally, on the day of Thanksgiving, I was probably fueled by my hunger as the tantalizing scents of roasting turkey drifted in the air, I wrapped up the draft at 50,223 words.

Following Thanksgiving day, I slept through the majority of that Friday. I could blame the turkey for my exhaustion, but I have a feeling it was more mental exhaustion than physical. 

Looking back now, I am glad I didn’t stop until I finished that manuscript. I even gave it a work-in-progress title: Spark of Life. But I don’t think I can ever do anything like that in five days again. At least, not without proper planning!

(It’s a self-awarded certificate, but still counts!)