In the interest of full disclosure, I have only done National Novel Writing Month once - back in 2008, and even then, it took me until January to finish the book. Still, I wouldn't have done it at all without that impetus and for that I am thankful. Those efforts turned into Through the Open Window, a novel about a woman who attempts National Novel Writing Month for the first time and gets much more than she bargained for.
In the intervening years, I've written one other novel and part of a third, but November has always found me involved in other activities, and NaNoWriMo has passed by with just a wistful glance.
This year, I do have a novel (novella?) that is perking. The germ of an idea came to me about a month ago, and I've been tossing it over. Is it worth it to invest time and energy in another story? While I am incredibly thankful for the small group of people who have read and enjoyed one of my stories, my writing career can certainly not be considered successful by any standard. And yet, that small urge is there, whispering inside of me.
In doing the writing retreat a couple weeks ago, I discovered that my life is such now that I can write a little most days in between taking care of my responsibilities. I can carry a notebook with me or leave it on the kitchen counter and scribble a few sentences here and there. I can make progress, even if it is small progress.
And so, I've started working on character sketches - figuring out who the people in this story are. As I craft them, they are telling me where they come from, where they have been wounded, and who they want to be. It is the mystery of inspiration and I know it is a gift. I plan to start writing soon, probably just in time for NaNoWriMo, although I suffer from no illusions that I'll finish the book in a month. It will be done when it is done, but the starting, well, that's something. I don't have that unbridled enthusiasm I had six years ago. My writing dreams have pretty much died and been buried at this point. And yet, I write, because I am a writer. That's what I do.
I wish all of you attempting NaNoWriMo for the 1st or the 10th time all the best! May your writing days and nights be fruitful.