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So You Want to Complete NaNoWriMo? CLICK HERE!

Back in 2020, when I was only a wee-lil' tire kicker in the author space, I was grinding my gears attempting to figure out which way was up. At the time, I had 10 years of experience writing an obviously inexperienced story universe that I had no idea would become the Aether Universe. I had a few manuscripts written, but no published works at the time.

I don't remember how I stumbled across NaNoWriMo. Maybe it was an ad, or maybe someone said it in a Facebook group post or comment. It was one of those things that was meant to happen, I guess. For those of you who stumbled across this because you are looking for motivation to write more, NaNoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an organization that hosts a challenge designed to motivate writers to lay down 50,000 words in the month of November.  I'm thankful that I get the opportunity to participate and this is what it taught me...

I Was Not Ready

Based on my skill level, I didn't believe I could actually finish NaNoWriMo.

During my first NaNo, I was nowhere near prepared for what I had to do to get to my goal of 50,000 words. Based on my skill level, I didn't even believe I could actually complete NaNoWriMo. I was procrastinating with a comic book universe for over 10 years and had made no progress. In that same year, I'd written a 90,000 word manuscript for my series one, book one (at the time, planned to be the first published Aether Novel). This manuscript has been rewritten five times and took me about seven months to complete. So the odds of actually making the 50,000 word count by the end of November seemed daunting. Especially considering I finished the aforementioned novel on October 26, 2020.

Only knowing the direction in which the story would go and little time to get prepared, I almost decided to give up on the idea. But literally at the last minute on November 1, I updated my word count of 432 words at 11:59pm. There was no turning back at that point.

The Gem State Siege By AJ McMullen and NaNoWriMo Prize
The Gem State Siege By AJ McMullen and NaNoWriMo Prize

By November 21, the first edition to The Gem State Siege was written and later published the following year. I went from not knowing my own potential to getting it knocked out with time to spare. It was rough and took some hardcore motivation, but I did it.

The Growth That NaNoWriMo Brought

Upon finishing that first NaNoWriMo, I realized that I was a lot tougher than I thought. The NaNoWriMo challenge help me understand that if you have a hard time managing yourself then you can mark your goals against time itself. That way, there is always a metric to meet. As far as my belief is concerned, I was ignorant to the idea of dedicated writing before before contending in NaNo. I went from doing a few hundred words a week to laying down thousands a day. That change happened as a belief system I built after getting the first certificate from November 2020.

Authors AJ McMullen & Alyssa Macram Showing off NaNoWriMo certificates.
Authors AJ McMullen & Alyssa Macram Complete NaNo Wrimo 2021

AJ McMullen's NaNoWriMo Certificate for Surviving The 9 to 5
AJ McMullen's NaNoWriMo Certificate for Surviving The 9 to 5

Had I not done NaNoWriMo, I would not have the belief that I could write three to four novels a year. I would not be as motivated to get words down in inopportune times like I do now. In addition, my new found belief has sparked something big in the Aether Universe as well. The Gem State Siege was supposed to be the sole prequel to the Arcanin War Series (Series 1). Because I became determined to provide value with my story, The Siege branched into another story and then a 10 book series. I became so confident in my ability to keep laying down words, that I even began writing other content.

2023 NaNoWriMo Certificates for The Shift and The Gem State Siege, courtesy of Aj McMullen and Alyssa Macram
AJ McMullen and Alyssa Macram's NaNoWriMo 2023 Certificates

This is the growth that participating in NaNoWriMo did for me. Am I saying that you would be able to repeat this behavior? No, I'm not. But accomplishing that goal of 50,000 in 30 days will do something to your soul.

If You Didn't Complete NaNoWriMo, Don't Panic

Remember that completing your word count is not more important than finishing your story.

If you didn't finish NaNoWriMo, don't beat yourself up over it. I promise you'll be fine. I just want you to remember that completing your word count is not more important than finishing your story. So don't be ashamed and keep going until the mission is complete. Try not to compare your loss to anyone else. Kudos to you for having a little awareness and being human. My first NaNo win came at the cost of isolation and losing track of my responsibilities. So celebrate your human-ness.

Stay Tuned

Later on this year, I'll be posting my secret regimen to accomplishing NaNoWriMo 4 years in a row. If you want secrets and tips to being more efficient at writing, sign up for my mailing list! For more information about NaNoWrimo, visit their website: Click Here

Whether you're reading, writing, or both, I'm here to serve you. Until next time, keep being amazing.

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