NaNoWriMo–I’m Diving In!

If someone asked you how long you thought it would take to write a book, how would you answer?  Six months?  A year?  Two years?  What would you think if someone told you they were going to write a book in 30 days?  Would you think they were crazy?

That’s what I thought a year ago when I first heard of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short.  I couldn’t fathom what would motivate a person to do such a thing.  Yet one year later, I am registered to participate in this writing free-for-all along with thousands of other writers around the world (9,500 in Seattle alone)!

November 1 kicks off the start of National Novel Writing Month.  The tag line on is “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon”.  Abandon means to yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation.  That is a scary prospect—to write with that sort of intensity for a month.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That averages out to 1,667 words per day.

Why would I decide to take on such a big project at this juncture of my writing career?  I need a deadline to get me moving on my next book project.  I’ve been so busy with the release of my story in Journeys to Mother Love this year that my memoir has been on hold.  (If you follow my story, you know that my trip to Spain next summer is a big piece of the writing.  I want to get a skeletal draft of the book done before then.)

Help Along the Way

Thankfully, I will not be alone in this endeavor.  There is a huge online community of other “NaNo” writers.  Last year there were 256,618 participants and 36,843 crossed the finish line.  Finishers get a winner certificate–a hard earned award and coveted milestone on their writing resume.  That is a huge accomplishment.  Win or “lose”, I’ll be further along on my project than I am now. is full of tips and support for this month long undertaking.  The main one I have embraced is telling everyone that I am doing this.  The theory behind doing so is to motivate us to avoid humiliation if we don’t cross the finish line with 50,000 words.  That’s a sobbering thought.

I think more than the possible embarrassment of not completing NaNoWriMo is the regret I would feel for not having tried this.  And that brings me to the best piece of advice I’ve found yet; do this for yourself.  So that is what I am doing.  I will be pouring a labor of love into myself this month.  I am searching for the nuggets that need to be called out of my story to share.  I am getting in touch with lost parts of my identity.  I am writing to share the hope and encouragement that following Jesus brings into the deepest parts of our soul.

Letting Go of All Expectations

So if NaNoWriMo is the vehicle I need to get me off the fence, then I’m all in.  I imagine it will turn my life upside down for the next 30 days—including Thanksgiving and my birthday.  I’m telling my friends to not expect to see me, but to pray for me.  I will need lots of encouragement.  (I hear week 2 is especially hard.)

In preparation for this dedicated writing, I have lined up some guest bloggers to fill in for me.  These women have all expressed an interest in writing and blogging.  They have been a source of encouragement to me along my writing path.  I know you will enjoy their stories and what they have to say about how they walk out their faith.

My newest writing prop. All set to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Other than that I have no idea if I will do an occasional post, do updates on Facebook or just fast from all social media and other possible distractions.  I’m trying to let go of all expectations.

Tomorrow, I am taking my next big leap of faith.  As I do the words to “Dive”, a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, are running through my mind.  Like the song says, “sink or swim, I’m diving in”.

Wish me luck, send me notes of encouragement, or better yet, pray that regardless of how many words I complete over the next 30 days that I stay in touch with the bigger purpose that I believe God is calling me too—and that I do it one day at a time.

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  1. Wow Ardis! Sounds wonderful! You’ve laid out the map, have some ideas of obstacles and a deadline. Awesome! Put on your dive suit, fill your tanks and explore the depths! Ask your guide to lead you and when you surface you will have another story to tell! One thing that may get you going is about the assumptions we make. Ask rather than assume. That was the start of our journey together. Have a great dive and I’ll see you when you surface! Love you!


    • Susan thanks for your encouraging words. They definitely help to fill up my tank for the dive. I am diving for sunken treasures and God willing I’ll surface with them at the end of the month. Love you too!


  2. Woo Hoo!!!! Ready…Set…Go!!!!!!!
    I’m excited to see where my novel takes me, too!


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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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