Are You Nanoready?

nanoreadyLuke 9:62 King James Version (KJV Public Domain)
 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Jesus called followers on the spot and bid them to join Him at the moment of call. Luke relates a story about a young man who gave a myriad of excuses that prevented him from joining the movement. He had responsibilities, after all, things to do, people to see, and places to go. Someday…maybe he would follow after he got it all accomplished.

The problem with this reasoning is that there is never a good time to change. There is never a convenient time to do something different. No time is a good time to take on a shift of focus. It is so much more comfortable to just stay the same.

Henry Blackaby teaches in Experiencing God we cannot go with God and stay the same. Change is part of the process. Not only a change in attitude and priorities, but many times a change in physical locations, relationships, or employment finds a way in to our new lifestyle following Christ.

Next month, many writers will put their hand to the plow and pray and write and pray and write and….not look back. Nanowrimo, national novel writing month, begins with a challenge to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. Such a challenge requires preparation.

I have prepared my work station (see attached photo mimicking Earnest Hemmingway’s stacked typewriter. It worked for him, right?) I’m praying for the protection of time to sit/stand and write daily. My fortitude to keep the path is being fed by currently finishing my second manuscript’s first pass. Book three hangs in my imagination and prayers but I hope to bring it into reality before December first.

What I learned last year from Nano was what the young man in Luke’s verse had yet to learn. As writers, we know writing is life. Having receptivity and faithfulness to imaginary friends and places can spill into our faith walk. Finishing something facilitates finishing more and more tasks. Done is good. Crossing a finish line builds confidence to find another race and run it.

As millions gear up for Nano, I’m praying many of us will apply the same diligence of meeting the goal of fifty thousand words to following the Master of Word. Fingers to the keyboard are like hands to the plow. Don’t look back. Follow the Master in all your ways and you might even produce a new novel!

Nanowrimo Results and Reflections

NaNoWriMo Hoodies Are Heaven
NaNoWriMo Hoodies Are Heaven (Photo credit: smittenkittenorig)

It’s over. 75,000 words later, I have the second novel in my series completed. ‘Resubmitted’ is done! Well, sort of. Now I have to edit the first draft and send the first novel, ‘Erased’, along with ‘Resubmitted’ to a real editor. The third in the series, ‘Accepted‘, will be my next project. I plan on taking a break to let my brain detox and to gain some perspective on what I’ve done.

Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, has given me the opportunity to prove to myself that I could do it. When I first learned about the international challenge, I was truly daunted. Overwhelmed. Awed. I know of authors who write for Harlequin who have intense demands to crank out 55,000 word books over a few weeks time. They are professionals .But me? I had no idea that I had that many words in my head. To ‘win’ Nano, you write 50,000 word in the month of November. I finished at 75.000. Who would have thought it?

It also gave me the opportunity to discipline myself to stay seated at the computer till the project was completed. It gave  me a real sense of what it would take to meet a deadline. It allowed me to plunge into my imagination with abandon and see what’s there. The schedule I keep is usually so focused on task completion and meeting the needs of those around me. To have had the time to look into my reservoir of creativity was absolute bliss.

It didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. My quilting projects sat untouched. I only read three books. My housework was down to a minimum but I never missed a meal or a ministry visit to my folks. I kept up my Sunday school lessons, worked out my usual three times a weeks, and kept in touch with all my people by texts or emails. So, I would have to conclude that what I thought was an unreachable goal was actually very attainable once I applied myself daily and kept a positive attitude.

Now that Nano is over, I have new confidence in myself, stronger disciplines, and an appreciation for the world of creativity the Lord allows me to exist within.   Could it be I have sold myself short many times in my life by negative thinking which has stopped me before I ever began to try? Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes.

Now that the world has nearly 40,000 more novels, I’m not sure it is lighter from the release of all those words or richer from all that creativity. About 350,000 people signed up but at last viewing it appears that only a percentage actually finished. There is probably a message embedded  in those figures, but my brain is still not recovered enough to figure out what that might be. Suffice it to say, a whole lot of folks learned many things about themselves and about their craft. The world may be a better place because of it, and I know mine certainly is for sure.

Next year? Nano? Absolutely!