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Editor’s Note: SDW/EG member Amy Zajac is our guest blogger today. Other members are invited to submit posts about the writing, editing, publishing, or marketing process. Send them to sandiegowriterseditorsguild@gmail.com

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

My name is Amy Zajac and I’ve been a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild since 2011. I’d like to tell you about my first experience with the National Novel Writing Month. (November)

In 2007, I belonged to a writer’s guild in Calhoun, Georgia, where I lived at the time, called the Writers Alliance of Georgia. At our September meeting, one of our more experienced writers told us about the National Novel Writing Month. www.nanowrimo.org

At that point in my writing experience, I had only written true stories about family and pets…so, initially, I tossed the idea to the side. “I don’t write fiction,” I thought. But the idea of making huge strides in such a short period of time kept popping into my thoughts. After all, over the years I had captured a few ideas for a story. I never thought I would take them anywhere though. It was just me dreaming. Could I really do something like this? A week later, my thoughts started to shift. At the next meeting a small diverse group, four of us to be specific, accepted the challenge! “We will write 50,000 words for our individual stories in November!” Whew…that was a major decision for me….but what to do now?

With my stomach twisted in knots, I tackled a plan to write my story. My plan needed to be different because I traveled out of town five days a week working as a consultant for a large computer implementation company. I woke up 20 minutes earlier than usual and spent 20 minutes writing before I started work. I wrote for 30 minutes of my hour lunches every day. I wrote two hours every evening after dinner. I wrote on the plane, to and from my client’s location and I spent 6 hours writing on Saturday and also on Sunday. I knew it was only a month, so pushing myself to the nth degree did have an end and I would be able to rest later.

I kept in touch with my fellow guild “challengee’s” and saw online that they were making their daily goals. I was glad…after all, we did this as a team effort. Seeing their regular progress pushed me on. I started to fall short though…and had to learn to just keep writing. I had difficulty writing on and on without making corrections. Corrections and edits could come later. I finally got that momentum going the second week. I began making my daily goals and ideas started flowing. It was great!

On the last day of November my total was 35,000 words. Yes, I fell short of the total planned for, but I was thrilled; I had a story. I continued with the writing allowing myself other projects in-between, publishing my mother’s memoir in 2012 and then completing my NaNoWriMo Writing from 2007 late in 2013. I followed my plan and I reached my goals, and it all started with the National Novel Writing Month.

Editor’s Note: Amy has published two books, Foredestined and It Started With Patton Teresa Leska’s Story: A Memoir, as well as being represented in anthologies from both the Writers Alliance of Georgia and the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. For more information about Amy, check out her page on Author’s Den.