NaNo Restored My Faith In Me
By: K.D. Storm
I have AD/HD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Most of my life I have been told that I cannot do the things that requires one to pay attention for long periods of time nor could finish projects that I start. Therefore, when I told people as I grew up that I wanted to be a writer I would get pats on my head with sad smiles. Some would even get brave enough to tell me that I should stick to jobs that did not require much effort.
For years, I would write and sadly, I fell into the trap of believing the misguided advice of those who thought they were looking out for me. I allowed myself to use my disability as a crutch. I disregarded the little encouragement I received as nothing more than blind love (People like my mother, my brothers, and a few of my closest friends) that were just as misguided as me. I was about to give up on the whole silly thing. Then I discovered NaNo.
By chance, I read an article about National Novel Writing Month. I got very excited about it. Here was a chance to see if I had what it took to write a novel in one month’s time. It would show me and those who were around me that I could finish a project. This challenge would help guide me in the direction I would take with my future. I signed up.
It was not easy that first year. I had only found out about the challenge two weeks before it was it was to start. I did not have any form of an outline. I did not know anyone who wrote. I also held down one full time third shift job and one part time waitressing job. My son was six years old and was use to having my undivided attention. Somewhere in there, I also needed to sleep. The odds were against me.
I bought a notebook and labeled it NaNo 2009. This is what I would use to write on the sly at work. I made the NaNo calendar my desktop wallpaper. I joined every NaNo club I could find. I was ready to go.
I realized quickly that writing 1,670 words by hand every day was not easy. Especially when you had to type it in every day after working ten hours at night. I fell behind by four days. I was frustrated. I began to wonder if everyone was right. Maybe someone with AD/HD could not write a novel.
Unexpectedly my son’s father offered up encouragement. He pointed out that I had overcome many hurdles in my life that most would never survive. To have an ex be so encouraging was shocking but it was just the shot in the arm I needed to make my dream a reality.
I made a few changes in my plan of attack. I started using my little mini-computer instead of handwriting everything out. I would write everywhere I went. In my mother’s car on our way to work with a flash light pointing at the keyboard. I would write sitting under a tree while waiting for my son’s school bus. I would write after my shift at the bar I waitressed at part time and in the cooler of my full time job while I stocked it.
When my birthday came, I took the weekend off and rented a hotel room. I did not leave it. I wrote, slept, and consumed coffee the whole weekend. I would not allow my dream die without a fighting chance. Every time I would feel my attention wavier, I would give myself a stern talking to and get back to work.
By November 30th I had done the unthinkable for me. I have completed my first novel with days to spare (I hit the 50,000 by November 18th) and had decided not to let my dream of becoming a published writer die just because others said I could not do it. NaNo helped me get my writing groove back. It helped me to realize that if I want something bad enough I could make it a reality. Above all NaNo helped renew my faith in me.