Like many of you I’ve joined the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel during November.

I did this last year, and hardly anyone I knew was doing it. This year, all but one of my nine-member face-to-face critique group have signed up and are writing away. And many more on the Colorado loop have joined the challenge as well. (I still haven’t added everyone to my buddy list; I will!)

Then I started with a premise and a very basic knowledge of my main characters (I knew their names and one characteristic/fact about them), and I knew who the villain (murderer) was and his motive. Other than that, it was total seat-of-the-pants. This year, I have well-developed main characters and villain, thanks to Jeff Gerke’s Character Creation for the Plot-First Novelist. And I have a three-page synopsis outlining the plot.

Last year, I wrote every weekday, mostly meeting my goal of 3000 words per day. I took weekends off. This year so far, I’ve written two days for a grand total of just less than 5000 words. Sigh. Most of it is timing. Before I committed to NaNoWriMo, I took on several editing projects that were supposed to be done earlier this week. For various reasons, I’m still working on two big ones, with extended deadlines. And that has me backed up into other originally well-spaced deadlines. So . . . already I’m struggling.

When I bogged down last year in the middle weeks of writing, I took an entire day just to write. It worked well: hubby was working in Mesa, AZ; our son who lives at home was away that day and evening; and our daughter was living/working in London, England. No distractions. And I wrote myself through the slump and into the final third of the book where it flowed easily to the end. This year, I’m hoping to schedule at least three of those days . . . just not sure when yet.

It can be done. The Lord urged me into this at the last minute last year, and He enabled to meet that seemingly impossible goal. Sensing the Lord’s nudging again this year, I signed up a little earlier, got my mind more organized, and had great hopes for accomplishing this goal again. It didn’t seem so impossible this year. But guess what? Here I am on November 6, wondering how I’m going to hit 10,000 words, let alone over 50,000!

And this morning in my quiet time, it hit me that once again I’ve set out to meet a goal in my own strength. But, thankfully, this time I realized it much sooner than I have done in similar situations in the past. I cannot do anything without Christ. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So . . . with God’s help, I’m going to relax. My editing schedule changes are not a surprise to Him. He knew when He nudged me into this that I would be facing different challenges. He knows this book is way over my head and abilities to write. That’s the way He planned it. And it won’t be me who accomplishes the goal to get this rough draft written this month. It will be Christ who does that, through me.

Marjorie Vawter, the ACFW Colorado Area Coordinator, is a freelance editor and writer.

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