Thursday, October 27, 2011

Write What You NaNo guest blogger: Sarah Ahiers

Hello, friends! I welcome you to Day 4 of the NaNo blogparty. Here to share with us her NaNo words of wisdom and love is a new blogging friend and fellow Minnesotan, Sarah Ahiers. And Sarah, for what it's worth, I'm glad you and NaNo found each other!

In Which I Thank NaNo

I’d heard of NaNo for years. But I’d never actually paid much attention to it. I don’t know why. I think it was just outside of my scope. But in 2009, things changed.

6 months earlier I discovered writing and agent blogs. Yes, I was a bit slow on the uptake. Up till that point I had read mostly dog and pet blogs. It had never occurred to me that there were blogs for agents and writers and stuff.

Once I started reading them, I was hooked. You see, I had been sitting in a writing rut. I hadn’t written anything new in about 2 years. There were multiple reasons why, a long commute, a change in job, not being in love with my current novel. You know the drill. I had even reached the point where I was wondering if I even wanted to be a writer anymore. I mean, if I couldn’t finish the one lousy novel I had been working on for years, clearly I wasn’t cut out for it.

But then, I heard about NaNo again. Write a novel in a month? Could I accomplish that? I mean, I had no idea if 50K in 30 days was something that would even be doable for me. I had no idea how many words were in any of my previous work, and I had no idea how long it would take me to pump out the 1667 words a day to hit the NaNo winning goal.

But. Yes, the wonderful “but”. This was a chance for me to take a break from the current MS (and by take a break, I really meant, allow myself permission to start something new. Because clearly I had been in a break from the MS for a long time, I just hadn’t admitted it to myself). I had plenty of ideas on the backburner just waiting for a chance. And NaNo was going to be it.

So, in November 2009, I officially became a writer again. NaNo showed me that I could write every day without having to sacrifice other things in my life. NaNo showed me that I could write 1667 a day in less than an hour. Hell, NaNo showed me that I could write 8k in one sitting, if I was really in the groove.

Mostly, though, NaNo showed me that it’s OK to set something aside if it’s not working anymore. It’s ok to start something new, to branch out. Instead of just drowning silently beside the stone of a broken MS.

What about you? Are you ready to give NaNo a try?

Sarah Ahiers was a winner in 2009 and 2010 NaNoWriMo and was also selected as a 30 Covers in 30 Days winner during the 2010 NaNoWriMo. She will be participating in 2011 NaNo under screen name Falen1 and would love to be your pal (because seeing other writers’ word count creep above hers is extremely “motivating” for her).


  1. I think the best part is learning to set one projects aside and start fresh on something new to revive yourself.

    I'm still learning that. ;)

  2. Excellent words of encouragement Sarah and TL.

    Nothing better than immersion.

  3. What a great story. I'm still in the camp of thinking I could never pull it off, but who knows? Maybe some day.

  4. I think NaNo is great for motivation. November is a very busy month for me, so I haven't participated, but I have a lot of friends who do and swear by it.

  5. Sarah rocks!
    One hour though? Crap, it took me three to four hours last year to hit the daily target. Damn I type slow...

  6. THANK YOU, Alex! I was starting to get nervous that I was the only one who found that nugget of info fascinating in a "why can't I do that?" kind of way!

    Matt, you can do it. You too, Kathi. You never know unless you try... ;)

  7. Southpaw - exactly - once i figured that out, things got easier

    Slam - yay for immersion!

    Michael - it's actually not so bad. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? You don't write the 50k? No biggie

    Matt - i honestly had no clue if i'd be able to pull off a NaNo until I tried it

    Kathi - yeah, it stinks with Thanksgiving in there. I just try to get ahead a few days to give myself a bumper

    Alex - you should see my amount of typos. Fast typing does not make me an accurate typer at all

    TL - well, i definitely have my days where it takes me a couple hours to hit 800 words. But, as long as the muse isn't too drunk, i avg the 1600 in an hour.

  8. Yeah, I'm totally joining the "Impressed with 1600+ words in one hour" club!

  9. Oh Sarah, you have such a great attitude! I love how energized you got from NaNo, it's really one of my favorite times of year. I just loved hearing your story!


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