National Novel Writing Month

“It is very difficult to portray a writer because so much of writing happens inside one’s head,” the playwright reflected when asked about the screenplay he had written about an author.

I related to what he said because I feel like I am always writing, except it is in my head. And I have been writing in my head for as long as I can remember. I became more aware of this when I heard a shout-out on the radio for essays on forgiveness.

A story had been going round and round in my mind for many years. When I finally sat down at the computer, the actual writing took about a half hour. But the process of writing had taken years.

Now, I am writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I don’t know the true origin of this nonprofit, but I imagine someone got tired of hearing people say, “I am going to write a novel” but never doing it. So this person said, “enough!” and decided that November would be designated as national novel-writing month.

The goal is to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. Any genre is acceptable and “novel” is determined by the author.

I have been writing (actually putting the words down on paper or in my computer) every day for many years, so I have a sense of the discipline of writing. But, writing 1,667 words every day is more difficult than I imagined.

My novel is based on my life, so I know my material well, and when I come to holes or lulls in the story, I make something up (that is the “novel” part).

We crossed the half-way point yesterday, and I am on track to be finished by November 30, in the sense that I will have written 50,000 words. Editing will be entirely different process.

For as long as I can remember, people have told me, “You should write a book.” I never thought my life was interesting enough for a book, and it may not be. But, the act of writing it down, of getting the words out of my head and into the computer (and eventually printed on paper) has been a great gift to me. I can see how blessed I have been by opportunities ranging from working at the FBI to living with Mennonites. I look back and see how God was at work in me and in my life.

Today is the feast of St. Gertrude the Great, a mystic who lived from 1256-1301. She wrote, “God, my God, because you are mine, I lack nothing.”

I write, “God, my God, because I am yours, I lack nothing.” I have been richly blessed and am grateful for my life—and the opportunity to write about it.




4 thoughts on “National Novel Writing Month

      1. Michele Baldwin

        I’m so glad you have been able to keep up with your daily goal. It’s can’t be that easy when your days are already filled.


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