Call to me and I will answer you. – Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
I stuck my neck out and signed up for NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month occurs every November. Notice the third word of the name—it’s not writers. It’s writing. Meaning it’s not a month to honor and remember novel writers. It’s a month to write 50,000 words of a novel. No prizes are given away, nor does anyone “place” (first, second, third, etc.). The idea is to write. Period.
NaNoWriMo requires seat-of-the-pants writing, no editing or going back to change anything—just forward movement. “It’s all about quantity, not quality,” the website explains. Now that’s a problem with me. You see, I second-guess myself all the time, going back to edit what I’ve written even when I’m in the middle of pushing forward. I re-read and tweak, re-read and tweak, re-read and tweak until I’ve lost the momentum. NaNoWriMo will be a challenge for perfectionist me.
The last time I did NaNoWriMo, I was 16,000 words into my novel and my left arm started going numb mid-month. Three surgeries and two years later, my characters had faded, the plot fizzled, the muse went AWOL, and I thought I’d never write fiction again.
But here I am, signed up for NaNoWriMo. But that’s not all I signed up for.
I also enrolled in the Christian Writers Guild’s Craftsman course, the Guild’s most advanced and demanding course. Beginning Nov. 1, I’ll work one-on-one, via email, on my WIP (Work In Progress) with a mentor who is a professional fiction writer and a multi-published author. This year-long, intense includes a four-day residency program in Colorado, working personally with the professionals.
Yep, I’m sticking my neck out—and my wallet. NaNoWRiMo doesn’t affect my pocketbook, only my time. The Craftsman course requires tuition, which includes the residency program, and the cost of a round-trip ticket to Colorado Springs.
I didn’t jump into this without consulting the One who has a plan for my life. Knowing my pulpit supply days were coming to an end, I asked God to show me the next step. “If you want me to get back to writing fiction, Lord, you’ll have to give the passion to write it and a story idea I can get excited about.”
I think it was a week later a sentence popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it (and a few hundred more words) down. The next day my characters showed up, and I grabbed a legal pad and pen and wrote several pages while they dictated. (No, I’m not crazy.)
I’m excited about this new novel I’ve begun. NaNoWriMo and the writing course will force me to move this story forward when the newness wanes and stop looking for excuses.
But that’s life, isn’t it? It’s all about forward movement, not going back and agonizing over what mistakes you may have made. It’s about asking God to direct you and embracing the next step He puts before you. It’s about trusting Him with an unseen future, believing He has it all planned out—“plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11 The Message).
Thank you, Lord, for Your wonderful plan for my life. May I always hear Your voice and not get it mixed up with my own ideas. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 37:3–7a