It’s NaNoWriMo Time!

If you aren’t a writer you may be wondering what NaNoWriMo is. Well, it stands for National Novel Writing Month.

Each year in November, writers pledge to write 50,000 words from November 1st to the 31st. It is a way to kick-start that book you’ve been wanting to write. That averages out to about 1,600 words per day, which, depending on how motivated you are, is easier than it sounds.

I have participated three times and have decided to do it for a fourth time! I have another book I am working on that is based on my short story, The Freedom Rider. I’ve spend a lot of October writing out character sketches and scenes, and creating dialogue. Now its time to get down to business.

NaNoWriMo is a great way to challenge yourself as a writer. It really forces you to sit down and write every day. For us writers that can be a challenging thing, especially if you have a full-time job and a family to take care of. Writing tends to get pushed to the back burner for some of us and it is always easy to find a reason not to write.

NaNoWriMo is a way to go all in and say “I’m going to make a commitment to myself and write this book starting today!”

Though I don’t have a full-time job outside of the home as a lot of writers do, I do stay busy being a wife and homeschooling mom. I usually write early in the morning (between 5am and 6am) to get it done before the rest of my day begins. Sometimes I make excuses or just don’t feel like writing. And sometimes I have a setback that discourages me greatly and I need to step away for a bit to recharge.

But the NaNoWriMo challenge says “damn all that. Sit your butt in the chair and write!” So that’s what I’m doing. If you’d like to read more about National Novel Writing month, just click here (after you finish reading this post, of course 🙂 ).

You can get a small taste of what my novel is going to be about if you read my short story, The Freedom Rider. Now let me tell you a little about why I’m writing it.

A while ago I read an article about white women in 1933 who were hired by the federal government to travel via horseback into Appalachia to teach the people there how to read because they were very concerned about illiteracy and unemployment there.

That article made me angry because there was absolutely no concern for Black people whatsoever, even though during this same time some six million Black people were going through the Great Migration.

The Great Migration was one of the largest and most rapid mass internal movements in history?perhaps the greatest not caused by the immediate threat of execution or starvation. In sheer numbers it outranks the migration of any other ethnic group?Italians or Irish or Jews or Poles?to [the United States]. For blacks, the migration meant leaving what had always been their economic and social base in America, and finding a new one.

Wikipedia

Given that fact just stated above, I marveled at the lack of concern for the plight black people were facing that was a direct result of slavery, which morphed into Jim Crow and segregation. Why was no one concerned with their unemployment? Why was their illiteracy not taken seriously?

Well, we all know the answer why.

And my mind started spinning. A character started forming. I placed her in the era of slavery because so many stories go untold. People, both black and white, want to forget about slavery. But I want to give the enslaved a voice. I read slave narratives all the time because I marvel at how they survived the terrorism of that time. It is a wonder black people made it to present day America with all that our ancestors endured.

But endure they did. And I am here because of their resiliency, strength, and sheer will to survive.

So I will never forget. I know slavery isn’t where our story began. But it IS the part I can touch. So I want to give them a voice and tell of the brave enslaved souls who FOUGHT slavery at the risk of severe injury — and even death.

So Kweku was born. She is an enslaved woman on a plantation in South Carolina during the last years of the Civil War. After an encounter with an infamous person on the Underground Railroad, Kweku sets off on a journey of her own.

Now, that’s all I’m going to say about that. You’ll just have to read the book when it comes out. I’m not worried about if someone will publish it, because I am saving up to hire professional editors and proofreaders, and I am publishing the book myself!

No one is going to tell me my story isn’t good enough to be in print.

So, here we go! National Novel Writing Month begins today. Send me your good thoughts. Send me your peace (I will be visiting a church here in Maryland that has tunnels under it that were used during the French and Indian War, and later as part of the Underground Railroad. Visits like these always move me to tears). Send me lots of encouragement!

See you on the other side!

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