November is always a quiet month for my running blog. It’s not that I have nothing to say or that I’m not running through the month of November (had a great time in both the Padden Mud Fest and in the Fowl Fun Run). The issue is that I’m NaNoWriMo-ing. National Novel Writing Month happens every November. The idea is that novel writers complete a draft of their novels (50,000 words) in thirty days. I participated last year and finished my fifty thou’ without too much trouble. I worked on a novel I started in 1999. I’m working on the same novel again this year.

The story is about a woman who goes to Mozambique, Africa as a missionary and loses her religion while she’s there. She meets another woman who has a complicated history both in Mozambique and in Brazil and is looking for her family, which she lost during Mozambique’s civil war when families were exiled into neighboring countries. I have no idea what I’m doing in writing a novel. I’ve easily written enough words to complete this thing several times over, but I haven’t mastered it yet. My storyline has flaws, empty spaces, and too many factual errors to count. My characters don’t always show up in my head. I think they might be mad at me for leaving them in the computer all year. And I’ve forgotten what Mozambique smells like (I was there in 1996 for six weeks as, you guessed it, a missionary).

Writing has always come easy to me. I was the student who had her essays written in her head for days before she sat down to get them onto the page–in one draft (and almost always for an A). I can crank out a blog post lickety split. And I wrote my memoir over the course of a year and half of hard, focused work. But this novel is still in its infancy after 14 years of thinking about it, dreaming about it, and picking away at it.

I feel about my novel the way I felt for the first few years of running marathons: inadequate, slow, in bad form, but totally determined. Don’t count me out; I may be at the back of the pack on this one, but by the end of 2013, I’m going to cross the finish line (i.e., deliver this book to my very patient agent) and order a pizza to celebrate!


BTW, to follow the NaNoWriMo collective novel I’m working one, click here.

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