Why I Joined the Madness

I’m an obsessed idea freak, by that I mean, once I get an idea in my head I have to accomplish my goal. It drives me nuts until I do. After talking about it, visualizing, and then calculating the best route, I keep my eye on the prize gleaming at the finish line. I’m sure it has something to do with the challenge and enjoying the creative aspect of the work, but I believe it has a lot more to do with achieving sparkly goals.

door with stained glass

In the past, I visualized a stained glass window, and then took a class and constructed five. I visualized angels or birds flitting and floating on my ceilings. Then one snowy Sunday afternoon, I pulled a ladder from the garage and painted them. It gave me enormous satisfaction to create something out of nothing.

ceiling with angels

Since this has always worked with art projects, I wondered if it would work with writing.


As you have probably heard many times by now, it is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. I figured you did. Thousands of writers around the world participate with the hope of writing a 50,000 word book during the month of November.

In the past, I rolled my eyes at this event. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to race to finish a novel in one month. I mean, how does anyone write an entire novel worth publishing after one month’s time anyway? I found out later, no one. This is a first draft and a mere skeleton of the book to come. My first novel is 91,500 words so you can see it will take a few more drafts to “flesh out” that skeleton. By the way, that expression gives me the willies. I always think of Silence of the Lambs. Shouldn’t it be “…a few more drafts to put meat on its bones?” I guess, I’ve always been pretty visual and literal.

Timing is everything. Remember that snowy Sunday? I finished editing my first novel written as a standalone and visualized the second in a three book series. Now my eye is on that glittery prize. NaNoWriMo is the route to the finish line.

I love the idea of having a rough draft of it by the end of November. With so many participants, I can feel the tow of others in the flow of NaNoWrimo. Maybe I should write a poetry book next year.

With art, there’s the excitement of a splash of color which would take form from my imagination. The word count in NaNoWriMo sort of works the same way. I’m not going to freak out if my first draft goes over or under 50,000 words, but it does give me a ton of satisfaction to see my word total grow. It’s a total that may not have grown at all if it weren’t for the incentive of joining this crazed group of writers.

I wish it was a different month like boring old February. Along with Thanksgiving, my family will be celebrating three birthdays over the next few weeks. The month starts out calm, so I’ll try to get ahead. I’m a crazed writer too, but not so crazy to miss birthdays or one of my favorite holidays.

In the meantime, I will visualize my story as my fingers clickity-clack on the keyboard. My eyes will be fixed on the skeletal first draft prize. Once in a while I’ll check in with others who have joined the NaNoWriMo madness who hope to win by finishing 50,000 words by November 31st. Wait. There are only 30 days in November? I gotta go.

Do you find incentive in joining groups to complete a goal?

nanowrimo 1

46 thoughts on “Why I Joined the Madness

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  1. Welcome to the asylum. 🙂 NaNo has been a great way for me to stock my creative pantry. Should I land that illustrious multi-book deal with a big name publisher, I’ve got at least three NaNo drafts sitting on reserve that I can work from. Will be looking forward to reading your posts as you NaNo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      That is fantastic! The timing was perfect for me this year. Although I will keep polishing my first book until I land my own illustrious multi-book deal with a big name publisher, I was ready to start on the second. The first one took a while to finish. The second is already a breeze in comparison.
      I think they should do this every other month. We could get 6 done in a year! Woowee!
      How is your NaNoWriMo?


      1. It’s slow going this year as I seem to be having trouble with video screens. Having read six books in as many weeks on my Kindle, plus the day job where I spend almost a solid 8hrs on the computer, I’m noticing my eyes giving me grief rather quickly (the type is doubling, going out of focus). Makes it difficult to get the writing done in the evenings. I’m determined to finish, both the reading (two books to go) and the writing so as to earn my NaNo winners badge :-).

        As to your every other month – whew! I’m not so sure I could match that pace, lol. More realistically there are Camp NaNos – usually one in the spring then one in the summer. Be on the look out, that could be your push to finish the drafts for books three and four :-).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There is an special energy created when there’s a group. We felt it in the graduate studios. (actually a condemned dorm the pitched to the art grads and said “be careful not to step where there are red X’s painted on the floors…it was great. No way we could damage it…can you imagine a flock of graduate art students let loose in that?)
    I think it’s great you’re snapping those Leggo words into shape – just write – pretty it up later.
    (and why isn’t it another month? Oh, well you do good under pressure and crisis) HAVE FUN!!!!


    1. Thanks so much Phil! I’m having a blast.
      That would be fun to be let loose in an art studio. I have one downstairs that looks like a tornado struck! It will be a clean up project for December.
      After editing for a year, it is so much fun to get on with her adventure. It’s a Wild One! YeeeHaa!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I did NaNoWriMo in 2012 when I was literally rewriting my entire book for my agent. GREAT experience. I absolutely believe in joining groups to help me reach a goal. I’m in a weekly critique group that means THE WORLD to me. They offer me accountability, support, encouragement and see things in my writing that I can’t see (good/bad). We write alone, but we accomplish with the help of others.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That sounds Mahvelous! I was in a critique group that has fizzled now that you mention it. I love and need that support and whip cracking.
      I may stop by one of the Boulder NaNoWriMo meetups just to meet a few of the thousands of writers that signed up in this area!
      Thanks for stopping by Marcy!


  4. Susie, did YOU paint those beautiful angels and clouds? They are magnificent. I really want to know if that is your incredible talent that created those. If so, you could design one stunning cover for your book. PS Thanks for always reading my monthly project.


  5. I’ve never tried to write a novel, but if I was going to do so NaNoWriMo would be the route I’d take. Just knowing that other people all around the world were doing the same thing would give me a boost. Rather cool that you’re doing this, but, like you, I think the activity would be better in February. I could see myself with the time and focus to join in then. However, it isn’t then, so I know that you’ll do great now.


    1. Let me know in February if you want to write a book. I may write the third in the series! Then I’ll have the rest of the year to put meat on their bones…
      I do think there is a palpable energy out there!
      Thanks Ally!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I signed up and then almost immediately thought, “Why did I sign up for this? I hate constraints!”

    But I have a profile out there, anyway.


    1. Good for you, Daya! Everyone works differently. The amazing Chuck Wendig admitted that NaNoWriMo isn’t for him either. I am all about time constraints to give me focus, so I am cranking on this one, so far….


  7. Nope. Worked in an environment of mutual goals for over forty years. Nice to have my own for a change. I sit here contented in my cold water garret with my quill and ink and scratch out what I want as long as I want. *gets up to put another lump of coal in the stove*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tell me more about your cold water garret. That sounds like a great first line for your next book! After 40 years, I might feel differently too. I am relatively new to the writing scene (pun intended), and thought I would give this a try. So far, I am having a blast with it.
      Thanks for checking in John!


      1. I live on the South Texas coast where cold water would be a treat. I tried to paint a picture of a reclusive writer working away paying no heed to the outside world. It really isn’t me.


    1. Thank you so much Practica!
      I plotted out this novel unlike my last that took three years. It’s not too detailed so I just start typing. I throw my characters into a situation and see what they do. It’s weird, but I have no idea what will happen. It’s been a lot of fun, so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The stained glass and angels are stunning! I’m sure this must bode well for NaNo somehow. I did NaNo a couple of years ago and it was a really good experience, knowing that you don’t have time to censor and edit your thinking, you just have to let it all come out is really freeing. And achieving the word count feels great. Good luck with it!


    1. Thanks Vanessa! It’s great to “hear” from someone who has taken the crazed route that is NaNoWriMo!
      I had no idea how I would respond to the commitment of writing every day, but really, it’s been such a relief to work on something other than my first book. I had to stop myself from reviewing and editing what I wrote yesterday. I’ll only allow tweaks that shape the story or ideas I may forget!


  9. Is their no end to your talents? Stained glass and ceiling paintings…your very own Sistine Chapel! If anyone can accomplish this NaNo task you can.
    As for your question…yes, I definitely am more motivated to complete a goal when I am accountable to a group. It just works for me.


    1. Thank you so much! I really dove into decorating after moving into this house 14 years ago. Writing has brought all of that to a standstill!
      The group thing and commitment is working for me too… so far!


  10. Good luck, Susie. The only aspect of NaNoWriMo that I relate to is No — in the traditional sense as in “not going to happen over here”. Still, I respect your outlook about it, and I am sure that you will complete a draft of something. Back in the early 90s, I cranked out a screenplay in six weeks, In the grand tradition of close but no cigar, that script was a Disney Fellowship finalist and a Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist . I wrote that script way before the dual distractions of the Internet and blogging. All I had to do when I returned home from The Grind was keep the TV shut off and write.


    1. Fantastic! That is huge! I used to call it OhNoWriMo. I couldn’t imagine doing it until this year.
      The internet is a big time-waster especially if I get bored. I’m keeping my eye on the prize, so we’ll see…
      Thanks so much V!


  11. Go, Susie, Go! Another wild ride by the awesome YOU. I can hear your keyboard clattering away and I have no doubt you will ace this challenge as you do all the others you undertake! I must admit my thinking is more in line with our friend V’s (Lame Adventures), I can’t get past the “No” part. But I love being on the cheerleader team … look out … here comes a cartwheel … Y-a-a–a-a-a-a-y, Susieeeee!


    1. Holy smokes! I’ve been so busy writing, I missed some comments.
      Thanks Pat! Love your cartwheel and cheers! In the past, I related more to the “no” but this year I jumped on the rocket! I haven’t fallen off yet. I’m hoping to finish way ahead. We’ll see…

      The only problem is finding time to blog!


  12. I’ve always thought NaNoWriMo should be in another month. March maybe? November can be a busy time with Thanksgiving, etc.

    Best of luck to you in putting a lot of meat on the bones of your novel. 🙂


    1. Right Jackie? I can’t believe they pick November. It is really crazy for me with the added birthdays. So far I’ve been cranking and should finish early if all goes well. Thanks for the wishes! 🙂


    1. Thank you so much! I haven’t created much since I started writing three years ago.
      The rest of the world disappearing is the very best part. I would feel that way after working on an art project and I get the same buzz from writing. A natural high!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! Thanks so much Eagleaye!
      I’m just typing away. My guess is it will be hard to get used to not sitting down to type 2000 words at a time. I may become a prolific blogger or start on another book. 🙂


  13. Good luck, Susie! I’ve just come from Sylvia Liu’s blog and she’s doing about 6 challenges this month yikes! Looking at that amazing painting I think you should do SkaDaMo too lol. I forgot there was a sketch a day group this month. Next year!


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