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In the other years that I have done NaNoWriMo, week one has typically been my strongest week. I have found that getting ahead of the word count in the first few days gives me a strong start to the month and carries me through weeks that are more difficult (like week two and three). This year, it hasn’t quite worked out like that.

I didn’t reach the daily word count goal of 1667 on day one, and I have remained behind the whole week since. I had wonderful intentions of making up my deficit and even getting ahead over the weekend, but a variety of things (hello, adulting) got in the way and so here I am on Sunday morning more than 5000 words behind. (And that is after writing almost 2000 words this morning already.) The good news is that I do seem to be on a bit of roll today. I think my NaNo record for a single day is upwards of 6000 words, so it’s entirely possible I can make up my word count all in one go today, or at least get pretty close.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I’m a little bit in love with my project. It’s definitely going to need a lot of work after this first draft, including a lot of research, but I am really happy with what I have accomplished so far.

I know I’ll run into some bumps and hiccups and such, but I am so happy that I chose this idea and am running with it. (As I mentioned in my post last week, I am writing a biographical historical fiction novel about Phillis Wheatley, who was an African American poet during the Revolutionary War era and she lived a pretty remarkable life.)

The even better news is this:

I have completely rediscovered how much peace and joy I get from writing.

I always, always forget this. I go for weeks or months or longer without writing (and when I say writing, I’m talking about fiction writing – not blog posts or journal entries or essays, etc.), and then when I come back to it I rediscover that joy all over again.

The simple fact is this: I am never, ever happier than when I am writing. Just thinking about it warms my heart and makes me smile and even brings tears to my eyes. It feels like my default state of being. Like coming home. Like everything warm and comforting and lovely and good.

It feels like what I was made to do.

Every time I sit down to write, I rediscover that joy. Every time. Whether it has been months or hours. Without fail. I am so fortunate to have found something that can make me feel that way and have definitely wasted precious writing time staring at the screen basking in the simple pleasure of creating a story. Even though I have not reached the word count goals I was hoping this last week, I am grateful for that joy.

I don’t know if that amazement will ever go away. If I were to become a full-time writer, I don’t know if I would feel the same sense of wonder every morning. It’s possible it would fade with time. But I kind of don’t think so. I think it’s a built-in feature I came with. The way I was born. Something at the very core of what I value and who I am.

That’s not something that will ever just disappear.

3 Replies to “NaNoWriMo: Week One, and the Joy of Writing”

  1. I have yet to commit to doing nanowrimo, though I’ve waned to do it since I first learned about it. This year I did the October “smart dummies” challenge for a picture book, and though I didn’t quite complete it (hello, four month old) it was a great start. I feel about illustrating like you do for writing–I get busy and don’t do it for awhile, then when I come back it’s like–yes. This is my thing.

  2. I think if you love what you are doing…writing, then NaNoWriMo has served it’s purpose. Additionally quality writing is much more important than quanity.

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