Well, today seems like as good a day as any for an update. I'm coming up for air!
I'm psyched! My plan of a self-imposed deadline is working! Although I have failed in my goal to write every day, even just a little bit, I've written 13 of the last 17 days. Often for hours at a time. It's been easier than I thought for the most part. The biggest challenge has been resisting the urge to edit as I write. The other big challenge is that as I am writing one chapter, I think of something else I wanted to write about a related topic that was covered in a previous chapter. Then I go back and am tempted to edit while I add the additional information. This is counterproductive to word count and stream of consciousness.
Interestingly, I am wondering how much I'm repeating myself. This is, in part, a story I've told before. It's a story I've written bits and pieces of before. It's a story that has been swimming in my heart and in my head for years. At times, I can't type fast enough. At other times, I sit, fingers poised on the keyboard and do nothing. Unsure of where to being or how to express it. Then, I forget if I wrote it or only wanted to write it!
I am purposefully not reading my journal yet. My 400+ page letter to Meghan I began days after she died. I last read it about a year ago. I will go back and add some of those memories and lessons in the 2nd draft. I don't want to get lost in it now. While I originally (years ago) thought it would be my rough draft, I know now, that is not it's purpose. That would be an entirely different book. My goal is a rough (and it will be rough) draft by the end of the month.
The biggest lesson in this for me has been resisting the urge to 'get it right' and just write. Get it out of my head and onto the 'paper'. To stop worrying if I'm being redundant or if I forgot something. I've started a notepad to jot down ideas and thoughts I want to include as they come to me. I have at times, written out of sequence. There are lots of typos and grammatical errors and I'm sure, a gazillion formatting issues yet to come. I've created a system for myself to mark where I need to go back for the second draft and add research or additional information, where I want a picture or reference and cross references to other chapters. It's been a learning experience in and of itself.
So how far am I? As of right now, 42,718 words. 11 chapters mapped out but some literally have but one paragraph. The chapters are, in a way, placeholders for thoughts not yet developed or written about but that will be important and necessary for the reader to have. I've no doubt I will 'win' NaNo. I will surpass 50,000 words for sure. I'm not sure the first draft will be complete by the end of the month. A substantial chunk of it will be.
My secondary goal will be to complete a full first draft, including the research and references, by the end of the year. A lofty and ambitious goal, even with 13 days left to go in NaNoWriMo. Even more lofty, I'd love nothing more than to be holding a printed copy of this book by October of next year.
Hell, I ran 13.5 miles a few weeks ago. Never thought I'd do that. I've always known this book need to be and would be written. I'm fairly confident now is the time and that the Universe is pulling for me here. There are bereaved mommies, daddies, siblings, family members and friends who lost an important person in their life and they want and need guidance, support and a knowing that they can and will survive this. There are lives to be saved.
Meghan's Hope is my hope. That no parent ever know this pain or need this book. Yet if they do, that they can find hope, inspiration and courage in these pages to let their love lead them on a path to healing.