I remember when NaNoWriMo first became an internet “challenge.” Back then I thought I’d really like to participate someday, but I was a teenager and lacked the organizational skills to write anything more than a short story.

As time went by I still thought about it every year but I had a lot of other things going on. In 2005 I began selling my art online and had my first art shows. Art took center stage for a while until 2011 when I started my family, and until 2019 the years are a haze of childrearing and not sleeping enough.

2019 was, I thought, the start of a reinvigoration of my art career. I had a few very successful conventions and was setting up a full roster for 2020. And then we all know what happened.

In the time since I’ve struggled with my health and my immune system, and every time I’ve thought I was ready to go back to conventions and traveling, I have had second thoughts. My autoimmune problems flare up, or as the case was with 2023, when I was intent on going to two shows, my grandmother got very sick. She literally died the day before one of those two shows, and while I think she would have wanted me to go, I didn’t want to leave my family.

In 2021 through the first half of this year I worked on the Angel Tarot, and that had to be my sole focus because my health was so terrible. Once I wrapped that up, I resolved, I was going to “win” NaNoWriMo. I’d had an idea for a book back in 2021 and I wrote the first 4400 words of it and then tucked them away for after the Angel Tarot. I never thought the AT would take as long as it did, but when I finished it at the end of July this year I thought that was perfect. It would give me a couple months to wrap up some art, go to that show that I didn’t make it to, and prepare for November, when NaNoWriMo traditionally takes place.

Things didn’t really go to plan as we already covered but I still knew I had to do NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t going to put it off anymore. I wondered if I would be able to come up with 50,000 words to write since I have never tried anything longer than a short story before. To my surprise it was very easy to come up with the first 4k, another 2 or 3k every day after that, and some days 5 or 6k.

On Saturday, the 18th of November, I “won”.

I crossed the finish line at 52,428 words, and I think about halfway through my story. I probably won’t write the remaining 25-40k words until after the holidays since it’s such a busy time of year anyway and I would like to sell some art. For now I am satisfied that I won NaNoWriMo so early that when I clicked the button to collect my winner goodies, I was simply greeted with the message that I was there earlier than expected and nothing was ready except a .gif of a dancing dog.

Today seems like the perfect sort of day to return to working on winter paintings, posting things for sale, and getting ready for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s blustery and very dismal outside, and inside this 111-year-old manor I have two fireplaces roaring. I have splurged on a pressure canner and I will spend the day preparing ingredients, making stock for soups and canning them, and listing things on eBay for Black Friday. We’re expecting a lot of rain over the next 48 hours and cold weather after that, so I am looking forward to cozying up with my computer next to the fireplace and keeping warm in the kitchen. For some reason the kitchen is always hot in this place, even when the rest of the house is frigid, but on winter days I don’t mind it.

Anyway, time to go throw more logs in fireplaces and get ready for a long day of miscellaneous chores.

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