I did it! I wrote my 9th NaNoWriMo novel.
50,109 words was my official ending number (although I wrote about 1,500 more after I “validated”) and I should be proud of myself for this major accomplishment…shouldn’t I?
Here’s the thing. I’m not excited about it. I’m not proud of myself. I’m not entirely happy about the way I spent the month of November.
To be clear, I’m not unhappy, exactly, and I’m not beating myself up. I’m just kind of…meh. Okay, I did it. Quit patting me on the back already. It used to be a challenge, but it’s not hard for me anymore.
It’s time to do something different.
For perspective, let’s take a look at my friend. We’ll call her “Belissa.” She loves to run. She was exceedingly happy when she finished her first marathon. That’s a life-long dream for a lot of people and there is no doubt that it is a huge accomplishment. She should be proud.
She wanted to do it again. There’s nothing like a runner’s high. She ran a few more marathons, and people continued to give her kudos, but after getting a few marathons under her belt, eventually she wanted something different. Something more demanding.
She signed up for an ironman triathlon.
The training lasted almost a year. It was tough, felt impossible at times. But she persevered, and when race day came, she was ready. She finished the 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.22 miles of running, and she was over the moon. She had done it!
I was amazed at her tenacity and dedication. In her, I saw living proof that hard work pays off.
I was not surprised, several weeks later, to hear that she had signed up for a second triathlon the following year. She was in great shape already, had paid a lot of money for the gear (may as well use it again), and was motivated to try to beat her personal record.
After another year of continuous training, she finished her second triathlon. A gigantic achievement? Of course! Was she happy about it? Absolutely!
What did she do next? She aimed higher.
She trained for, and finished a 50-mile race. And now? She’s staring at a 100K.
Belissa is my role model because she keeps challenging herself to do more, keeps pushing her limits, keeps improving in an area of her life that she loves.
Time for Me to do an Ironman
How does this relate to me? Well, I have ambitions like Belissa, just in a different field. But I keep “running marathons” (which in my case translates to “NaNoWriMo,” or “writing a 50,000 word novel draft in 30 days”) instead of pushing myself to greater heights.
I know I can do a marathon. I barely even have to think about it anymore. It’s not challenging for me.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I write intermittently about my authorial dreams and my writing and editing process. I have a light bulb moment about once a year or so and proclaim the next step in my journey to becoming a well-known author. Well here is my next one.
I’m signing up for an Ironman.
The “Publishing A Book,” or PAB Ironman.
I’m making this up as I go along, but I know that I need a training schedule and I need to work hard and continuously. I need to be focused and dedicated.
The training for the PAB Ironman includes the following components:
- edit a full-length manuscript
- find an agent
- submit to publishers
- work with a real editor
- layout and design
- publish book
The actual schedule is a little less certain.
Step #1, editing, is something I’ve been working on for way too long with my current novel. I’ve decided that my drop-dead date for solo editing is February 28. No matter where I am in the process on that date, it’s time to move on to the next stage.
That means I need a training plan for editing. I’m going to spend an average of a half-hour a day editing my novel, with the goal of reaching 42 editing hours by the end of February. Is that enough? Too much? I don’t know, but I need to start somewhere.
I created a goal-setting sheet (which you are welcome to use as well for your goal. Right-click on the image to save.)
42 boxes. What do they represent to you? To me, each box is 1 hour of editing.
I also need to pick a date for publication. If Belissa can take a year to train before the real event, I suppose I can, too. Why not pick my sister’s birthday for the day the rubber hits the road?
The date of the PAB Ironman is December 8, 2018.
As for steps #2-5? I’ll prepare for them as I get closer. For now, I know where to start, and I have a deadline.
The final step is finding a couple partners in crime. My friend Belissa had a few friends crazy enough to join her journey… Are you crazy enough to join mine?
Let me know if you want to sign up with me for the PAB Ironman. You have a year. Go!
You might also like: