I have a distinct memory from when I was five. There are no images or places or events attached to it, but the memory is strong: it was the moment I decided that I would write a book someday.
The planted seed of that dream remained buried during my growing-up years, building deep roots as I wrote essays and stories for classes and poetry in my spare time. My dream lay dormant during the busy days of college, the blur of getting married, moving to a new state, setting up a home, and welcoming our first precious baby.
Then it crept up on me, a tiny bud pushing through the soil of my new life, whispering that it was now or never: “The baby naps so well, you have an encouraging husband, you have a plot…”
It’s been nearly a year in the making, but it’s finished! Though the process was sweet and life-changing, there were some very practical steps that made this possible:
- I created stakes. November is , in which aspiring authors can sign up, post their daily word count, and “win” a certificate if they write 50,000 words during November. The website has forums where writers can connect locally and by genre. Going after a prize (even one as silly as a print-yourself certificate) helped spur me on to “win”.
- I set daily goals. Crystal talks often about breaking big goals into smaller ones, which I found crucial during NaNoWriMo. To reach the 50,000 word count goal, I had to write 1,667 words a day—more than that to avoid writing on Sundays. Knowing I had to hit that number within my writing time helped a lot.
- I made the time. Not everybody’s in the place to write a novel; I was fortunate to have a newborn who napped very well and at predictable times, so I knew when I could work. Now, she is fourteen months old but still takes one big nap, so I can still write every day.
- I made myself accountable. Every day when I finished writing, I posted my word count on . People were very supportive, which only spurred me on all the more.
- I gave myself grace. 50,000 words does not a novel make; after the NaNoWriMo challenge was over, there was still more work to be done. Then there was editing, formatting, and artwork. Plus there was a grad student husband who needed encouraging, a baby girl who needed loving, and a house that needed cleaning. If I had kept up my NaNo pace, I would have published six months ago, but I am truly loving the balance I’ve struck between my “work” (which is my passion) and my “job” as mother and wife (which is my greater passion).
So a seedling dream becomes a reality, and now that I’m pre-writing my next novel, it might become an entire orchard.
MK Jorgenson is a first-time author, wife, mother, and Jesus follower. When she’s not frantically typing during naptime, she loves walks to the park and reading story after story with her daughter. Her debut novel, (inspired by events in the book of Acts), is available on , , and in paperback through . She can also be found blogging at .