I'm Writing a Book | NaNoWriMo

31 October 2020

It's been seven years since I've seriously pursued a writing project. In that time I graduated high school, I graduated college, I got married, and somewhere between it all I lost my confidence and my enthusiasm for fleshing out the stories in my head and writing them out on paper. Every spark of an idea felt basic, nothing that would excite me. Writing became a chore as I would continually associate it with busy academic papers instead of the thrilling weaving and experimentation with words that used to take up so much of my time. During these past seven years, a part of me truly believed that I would never have the motivation to attempt to write a book again.

January of this year was the rebirth of my old dream of publishing a book someday. Old ideas were coming back to me, but with more depth and purpose than before. Beginning paragraphs were spilling out of me as I sat at my computer, not sure whether the story would keep going or not. I wrote a blog post about this change in me, my determination to make this old dream of mine a reality. But since then, I haven't really known how to get started.

I'm at a strange stage of life. In between jobs, out of school, stuck at home, unable to go out and do much of anything. As November loomed closer, and posts of NaNoWriMo began popping up on my newsfeed, I knew that this would be the year I finally try to write 50,000 words in one month.

I'm no NaNo newbie. I have attempted to do it twice, failing drastically. The proudest I ever was was when I was able to write 24,000 words of a book I have since abandoned during a round of Camp NaNo years ago. I have little confidence that I'll actually be able to win this year. I view this November as a time for me to get a head start on my story and force myself to just write. It's hard for me to not edit as I go. I tend to get discouraged if what I'm writing is messy. But I'm ready to embrace the mess in order to finally get my story out.

I do have writing characteristics that have stuck with me through all this time. I cannot outline or fully plot a novel before I start writing. I am a hardcore plantser, going in with a vague shadow of where I want to go. The location is in my mind, but I have no map to get there and I just have to feel my way through the dark until I find the right path. That's just who I am as a writer, and it's a blessing and a curse. It causes a lot of frustration, but also a lot of eureka discovery moments that are priceless.

This plantsing style I've held on to is how I'm going into this year's NaNoWriMo. Last night I sat down to do my own prep work to feel some sense of direction. I wrote a single paragraph with the briefest details of where I want my story to go. All of a sudden, the ending became so clear in my head and I felt as if I could cry from excitement. I have no idea how I'm going to get my characters to that ending, but I already can't wait to get to actually write it. 

It does make me a little nervous listening to how other writers have used October to prep, writing full outlines and character analyses, scheduling out their full month to fit in their writing time. I feel wholly unprepared to start this journey, but I also know that even if it weren't NaNo, I could never write by sticking to a strict outline. I think it's amazing when people can do that and be organized, but it just personally wears me out. 

But besides what I've done to get ready for November (little to nothing), I'm sure the only thing you really want to know is what am I writing? And to that I can only give a short response. My stories are extremely personal to me, and until I have fully discovered my characters and plot, I don't have the confidence to fully explain what I'm writing. I have an irrational fear that someone will either steal my idea, or tell me how it'll never work. So as of right now, I'm not ready to reveal in detail my setting, my characters, or anything that could give away what my book is about. 

All I'm willing to say is that it's historical fiction and that it revolves around a time and place that have been on my heart for years. This is the book I didn't know I needed to write until it came to me out of nowhere. I hope I'll get to a point when I'll be ready to explain more soon. Maybe I will after the month, who knows? All I know for now is that I will definitely be updating you on the progress of my book as I hit certain milestones, and I can't wait to take you on this journey of rediscovery with me.

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year, feel free to add me as a buddy! You can find my profile under hannahcatron. And let me know all your survival tips and tricks, and previous NaNo experiences! We're all in this together this month and I'd love to support other authors as we write our books together.


  1. This is awesome! I'm excited for your Nanowrimo journey this year :) it's definitely great that you're finally getting to write what you really want, after all the academic papers and such. Despite this year's circumstances, I'd like to think it has allowed us to get more in touch with our creative selves. May your November be filled with lots of inspiration, ideas, and most of all, words :")

    Anna Jo | http://helloannajo.blogspot.com

  2. Oh my word this is so exciting!!

    I identify with a lot of the characteristics you mentioned yourself having, such as not wanting to share my ideas until they're fully fleshed out for fear of plagiarism or rejection; getting discouraged if my writing isn't perfect (and then overwhelmed when I try to make it so), and struggling to find a story idea that makes me fall in love with it. Perhaps those things make finding a story you want to write that much sweeter?

    Giving yourself grace as you enter into this familiar unknown is an accomplishment just as important as reaching that 50k goal. I wish for you success!

    ~ Scarlett | An Attempt at Authenticity

  3. I’m so excited for you, Hannah!! I did NaNoWriMo, oh gosh what was it, four years ago??? I never reached 50k, but it was fun. I love the idea of community based writing.

    best wishes for your story!