November is National Novel Writing Month. I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo, but this November turned out to be my novel writing month for 2011.

My latest novel writing binge began around October 20th, after I returned from a holiday in Ontario and Quebec. I usually have trouble getting back into writing mode after a break. From experience, I’ve learned to simply plunge in and work my way back into the groove. Sometimes it’s only taken a couple of days; this time took much longer.

I had left my novel-in-progress at the mid-point of the first draft. Normally, the story starts to pick up for me from there. This time, I found writing the third quarter of the book a chore. I told friends I felt like never writing another a book. Had I felt that while in the midst of earlier works-in-progress? I don’t recall, but perhaps I did. I kept working because I’d set a goal to finish the first draft by Christmas and, ideally, my birthday on December 13th. There were moments when I felt the goal was a real stretch.

Around the 3/4 point of the book, I snuck in a Sunday writing day and, to my surprise, finished an entire chapter. From then on, the story started to come together; through the last half of November I was accomplishing about twice as much per day as I had during the preceding weeks. As a result, I finished the first draft on November 30th.


I still have bits and pieces and organizational work to take care of before Christmas, but am looking forward to giving the major work (and myself) a rest for the next month, which will be busy in other ways: celebrating my husband’s and my birthdays, preparing for the holidays and spending time with with friends and family, including my two sons who are coming from Toronto.

I shouldn’t be surprised to discover that sweating out a first novel draft doesn’t feel too bad now that’s over. I may even do it again.