Limbo-Dancin' to the Winning Post

Sheila Newton By Sheila Newton, 1st Dec 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/84kb0p.c/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Taking up the National Novel Writing Month Challenge was great fun. I've written 50,000 words, had them validated on NaNoWriMo and have been flagged as a WINNER. Best thing I've ever done as a writer of fiction.

The Starting Post

What a daunting task it seemed to be. I'd visited the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website a hundred times or more over September and October.

"Will I do it?" I thought.
"Nah!" I said.
"But it's about time you set yourself a writing challenge, Sheila, and you've never got past Chapter 1 of your novel."
"Mmm...maybe." I pondered.
Then I said, "Nah!"

On and on the days passed by. Time and again I said, "Nah!"
Then I read Val Mills' NaNoWriMo article on Wikinut and thought, "Get up off your backside, lazybones (or words to that effect!)...
http://guides.wikinut.com/November-belongs-to-NaNoWriMo-National-Novel-Writing-Month/388v6l7n/
And wrote a page on Wikinut -to make myself believe - and tell the world.
http://writing.wikinut.com/You-Rock%2C-Val-Mills!/1164ufrq/

And I signed up.

Past the Half-Way Mark

On November 1st, I was a bundle of nerves.
"Right, let's get this party started," I urged myself on.
And I wrote and I wrote, that day - and the next - and the next.
I got writers' cramp. I drank coffeee and tea until they were pouring out of my ears. I sweated over the tough parts where I would suddenly come to a full stop.
"Where do I go from here?" I'd ask myself.
Then I'd pace and pace the floor until I was back in full flow.
And sure as apples is apples, by the middle of the month, I was just a little past the half-way mark.

Passing the Winning Post

The days went on. Autumn turned to Winter. My computer keys clicked and clicked their way through the next chapter - and the next - and the next.
Chocolate bar wrappers littered the floor around my den.
"Have a chunk of chocolate, girl. Give yourself some energy."
At every sticking point, I whipped myself back into shape, staring into the mirror at my jaded image, giving myself a pep talk or two.
"C'mon, Sheila, you can do it."
"I can't. I'm exhausted. Can't think," I answered myself.
But I sat back down on my calloused rear end and got on with it.
26,000 words became 30,000 words. 35,000 words became 40,000 words.
And i was on the home stretch.
From that point ,it got easier. I could see the wood for the trees. I could see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
"How many words now?" I said to myself, updating my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, two days before the finishing date.
"48,000? Wow - let's get this licked," I said.
And then it was the 29th November - one day before the final countdown.
"How many words now?" I asked myself, updating my word count again.
"50,604 words. I've done it!"
With shaking fingers, I copied and pasted my work into the 'validating' section of the NaNoWriMo site.
And 'Voila' - I'd done it!
CONGRATULATIONS - YOU'RE A WINNER.
The screen lit up with those wonderful words. I've never been so happy and relieved in all my life.

All Set to Complete my Novel

I've had the time of my life (in the words of the Dirty Dancing song) taking up the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month. Would I do it again? You bet!

But just a little tip to anyone who's thinking of joining me in next year's challenge. Get your outline/synopsis done before day one of the challenge. Get your character profiles laid out too. And a brief chapter-by-chapter scenario wouldn't go amiss either. Then all you have to do is write...and write...and write.

So, those 50,000 words are under my belt now. But that doesn't mean that my novel is finished - oh, no!

I predict that the final word count will be around 65,000 words. And now that I've got the momentum going, I'm going to strive to get it finished and ready for the editing stage - first draft, second draft, third draft....

And I think I've had a tough old month? Don't you believe it! The really hard work is yet to come!

Nevertheless - I'm a WINNER! And I've got the biggest, cheesiest smile on my face.

Tags

Challenge, Creative Expression, Creative Writing, Creative Writing Techniques, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo Competition, Winner

Meet the author

author avatar Sheila Newton
A retired nurse and teacher, with two cats, a husband and a grown up son, I write short stories, articles - and I'm an ardent blogger. Catch up with me on my blog at: http://sheilanewton.blogspot.com

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Comments

author avatar Sheila Newton
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you, Mark, for your 'awesome' comment. And this was moderated pretty darnn quickly. Thank you.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Yes very awesome win for you, congratulations are certainly in order. Wow!

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations, Sheila. You certainly work hard and deserve success.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks Ivy. Nice to be back on track with Wikinut. I must re-install my email alerts and catch up with you.

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author avatar Retired
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations Shiela, proud of you....
Think I will join you on the next challenge, let me know when. :-)

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author avatar Sheila Newton
1st Dec 2011 (#)

Brilliant, Aiyanna. I'll give you the heads up for next November.

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author avatar writtenbyQ4u
1st Dec 2011 (#)

That is awesome! 50,000 words is some achievement. Keep on writing - not that you need telling!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
2nd Dec 2011 (#)

You're right - I don't need telling. It's an obsession (she said, biting her nails and screaming!)

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author avatar Val Mills
2nd Dec 2011 (#)

Wow Sheila, I stand in awe, you certainly are A Winner. And i feel warm and fuzzy that my small insignificant piece of writing had such an outcome! Take a break, then get stuck into that next editing stage. I'm sure we all look forward to hear of your continuing progress. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
2nd Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks Val. And I really must get the URL of my published 'Alice in Wonderland' piece to you. Because you were the instigator of that too. The things I pick up from your posts.... (!!!)

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author avatar Buzz
2nd Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations, Sheila. Here's my hugs and kisses...hmmm, mwah, mwah, mwah!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
2nd Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you, honey babe. Luv Ya Lots, Buzz.

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author avatar Randy Duckworth
3rd Dec 2011 (#)

Congrats, Sheila! You're awesome! Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
3rd Dec 2011 (#)

Cheers, Randy. I'll come visiting you soon. When I get over the 'knackered' period!

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author avatar ittech
3rd Dec 2011 (#)

congrats

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author avatar Sheila Newton
3rd Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks, sugar.

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author avatar Retired
4th Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations! Wonderful! What a great smiling pic, too.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
4th Dec 2011 (#)

The pic was taken in Devon in UK. What a lovely county Devon is. No wonder I was smiling!!

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author avatar M G Singh
4th Dec 2011 (#)

Great to read about this Sheila. You really deserve it. Congrats again

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author avatar Sheila Newton
4th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks my friend. Yes, I'm really proud of myself.

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author avatar Carol
4th Dec 2011 (#)

Well done Sheila, be proud of yourself.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
4th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks so much Carol.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
4th Dec 2011 (#)

You were so enthusiastic about Val Mills taking part in the beginning, that you got me to sign up and.... frizzling out like a wet squib, barely ten pages into the race. CONGRATULATIONS ! Sheila i'm sooo proud of you. Are we going to read your book on wikinut?

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author avatar Sheila Newton
4th Dec 2011 (#)

No - but like I say at the end of the article, the novel needs to be completed. Then it needs editing and editing. I'm hoping, if I work REALLY hard, it might be ready for publication by about May 2012. I think I'll probably be lazy and put it on Amazon Kindle rather than try to find a publisher. Who knows?!!
Whatever though, I 'll link you Wikinutters to wherever you can find the book, either online or on the bookshelves.
And I'm really glad you're SOOOOO proud of me! I'm touched. And better luck next year for your novel, eh??

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author avatar Delicia Powers
5th Dec 2011 (#)

You are amazing:0)...well done!!!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
5th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks - and I'm loving your Christmas pages, Delicia.

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author avatar Bridgitte Williams
5th Dec 2011 (#)

Fabulous and congrats! :-)

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author avatar Sheila Newton
5th Dec 2011 (#)

I know - isn't it great!!

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Be proud of yourself.Happy Christmas,

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Merry Xmas to you too, Neeraj.

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author avatar vpaulose
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks a lot my dear sister Sheila for the comment on my Advent article. The prayer slab is a photo taken in the exact place where Our Lord taught it.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Wow. That's astounding. I'd love to visit that exact spot.

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author avatar aking1614
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations! I have several chapters of a novel sitting on my laptop as we speak. I started it almost 20 years ago and it has gone from floppy disk to floppy disk to CD as it has been transferred from one machine to another. I'm not sure how many words it contains, but I really have to finish it at some point.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Yes, do finish it. Then we Wikinutters can all go out and but a copy.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations! You've done it.
We are proud to have you among us, the Wikinutters.
Your determination and achievement inspires me.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Aw, thanks Rathna. What a compliment.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
6th Dec 2011 (#)

I'm going to join you next year in the writing competition. I want to try my hand at writing thousands of words everyday.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Good for you. I'll give you the heads up in October next year, so you're all prepared. Promise!

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author avatar Marijo Phelps
7th Dec 2011 (#)

Hi sheila -

glad you enjoyed my Christmas story! I have been going nuts as I am getting my first book published and meeting editor's deadlines before I start radiation for breast cancer - DCIS disgnosis and I guess if you have to have breast cancer this is the one to get. I, too, am a retired RN and we have 4 cats - my hubby broke down and got me a blue eyed kitten for Christmas!

Blessings and keep up the good writing!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
8th Dec 2011 (#)

Sorry about the cancer. I know you can kick it, girl. Keep your spirits up. Your husband and your 4 cats will keep you going too, I'm sure.
Love your writing too, Marijo. You've got talent. What's the book about? What genre?

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author avatar Marijo Phelps
8th Dec 2011 (#)

It is called Morning Whispers from the Heart of God - A Devotional Bible Study... I am doing well with the breast cancer (and my 40 inches of incisions........ 8 weeks after surgery...THANKS!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
8th Dec 2011 (#)

40 incehs of incisions! You're a brave lady, Marijo.

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author avatar D in The Darling
8th Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations my dear friend. Didn't I tell you that you're a bunch of talented bones despite your insistence to call yourself lazy bones?

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author avatar Sheila Newton
8th Dec 2011 (#)

Hahaha! You're a sweetheart!

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
9th Dec 2011 (#)

Interesting indeed..

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author avatar Retired
10th Dec 2011 (#)

I am very happy for you. I always say when we said we can't do something that it is a mind set. We just need a little encouragement to push us along the way. This was a beauitiful article.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
10th Dec 2011 (#)

Oh, thank you for dropping by, Linda, to leave me such heartening comments. I'm really pleased you called in.

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author avatar Bets
13th Dec 2011 (#)

I breezed easily thru your writing here Sheila and learned very quickly, LOL. What travels of thought you brought us thru; THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCES IN WRITING YOUR NOVEL. CONGRATS ALL THE WAY GIRL! YEAH!!! YOU DID IT! I ESPECIALLY LIKED THIS PART; "Then I read Val Mills' NaNoWriMo article on Wikinut..." OK, I MUST CHECK THAT OUT. HAHA. Have a very Merry Christmas and hope you're getting a monetary reward too! Smiles, Bets

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author avatar Sheila Newton
14th Dec 2011 (#)

Bets - you're a star. Luv ya loads!

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author avatar Shaunak
16th Dec 2011 (#)

excellent read..

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author avatar Sheila Newton
18th Dec 2011 (#)

Oooh, thank you...

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author avatar ppruel
19th Dec 2011 (#)

Congratulations Ms. Sheila. You really deserved it. Advance Merry Christmas.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
19th Dec 2011 (#)

Merry Xmas to you too, ppruel.

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author avatar Denise O
19th Dec 2011 (#)

Well, congratulations my friend. I had no doubt you could do this. Girl, you had my heart racing as I went through each line. Whew! I am exhausted! I can just imagine how you must feel. I am just so proud of you. Love your photo at the bottom of your page. As always, thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Sheila Newton
19th Dec 2011 (#)

You're brilliant Denise. Luv ya!

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author avatar Jules Castillo
21st Dec 2011 (#)

félicitations!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks so much, cowboynextdoor. Nice to hear from you. I'll keep checking you out. Promise. Happy Xmas too.

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author avatar Retired
23rd Dec 2011 (#)

oh you made your pen work to a plan and you made it arrive so good..Sheila this is overwhelming that you completed the 50000 marathon...what extraordinary calibre..........Ca va tres bien..LOLz

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author avatar Sheila Newton
23rd Dec 2011 (#)

Ah, oui, merci beaucoup.

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Dec 2011 (#)

Sheila..CONGRATULATIONS..! Wow! I am so impressed by what you have achieved my friend..You will always be a winner in our eyes..Well done!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
4th Jan 2012 (#)

Thanks so much. Hope you had a merry Christmas. Happy New 2012, my friend.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
11th Jan 2012 (#)

My heartiest congratulations Sheila. I could have never done it, and it amazes me that you did. You are an immense talent my friend.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
12th Jan 2012 (#)

Aw Steve. You'll reduce me to tears in a minute!!! Thank you, kind sir.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
15th Jan 2012 (#)

Yes, congratulations are definitely in order. I wrote an article about the challenge for another site that I write for, a site called Factoidz.Com and I had considered taking up the challenge myself, but I knew that I would never be in the running. I have too many other daily writing deadlines that I have to meet because I am a full-time working writer.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
15th Jan 2012 (#)

Ah, yes, of course you are. Would that I were a full-time working writer. My dream come true, Jerry.

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author avatar blackangelwings
17th Jan 2012 (#)

Great commitment Sheila with a just reward. Thank-you for planting yet another seed in my writing thoughts.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
17th Jan 2012 (#)

You going to take up the challenge this November?

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author avatar Melinda Bocook
19th Jan 2012 (#)

I really enjoyed your article, i could feel how you feel with something wonderful is going to happen, I could feel what you were going through, good write. Congrats! you deserve it. I got to smile on this one. I brought a happy thought to my mind, you are really good. I really like reading you what you write it gets to the soul.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
19th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you so much, Melinda, for your kind words.

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author avatar pinkscarf_insomniac
23rd Jan 2012 (#)

CONGRATULATIONS! :)

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author avatar Sheila Newton
23rd Jan 2012 (#)

Thanks, pinkie.

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author avatar Terry Chestnutt
23rd Jan 2012 (#)

Wow! It read like a sporting event where you cross the finish line in first place. Thrilling read. Congratulations as well!

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author avatar NancyG in TN
26th Feb 2012 (#)

very good!

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author avatar Sheila Newton
26th Feb 2012 (#)

You're looking at all my posts, Nancy. How nice. Thank you.

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