How keeping a notebook helped me win NaNoWriMo


Happy December! I am so very proud to announce that on November 29th, I won National Novel Writing Month! I gave up earlier in the week thinking that I just wouldn’t be able to write any more but I pulled through! I don’t think I would have been able to do it with out my collection of notebooks.

Before, during and after chemotherapy I wrote in my journals about what was going on, how I was feeling both physically and emotionally and what I was looking forward to. The neuropathy in my finger tips made writing (and knitting, holding chop sticks, and picking up things) difficult but I did it any way.

I am so glad I did.

My NaNo book is about my cancer experience. It’s been three years since I was last admitted into the hospital, those memories have either been blocked out or have faded away. I had forgotten certain moments or my time line, as I recall it, was mixed up.

I was able to turn to my notebooks full of those painful memories to get me back on track. My rereading and writing in those moments to my narrative, I was able to trigger other memories.

Reading through my scrawled notes, I was able to see when I went from feeling so angry about having cancer and having to spend so much time in a hospital to feeling more resigned at my fate and determined to see it through.

I don’t think I could have pressed on with NaNo if I didn’t think about finding my diary from that year. Present Vanessa is very happy that Past Vanessa kept up her writing habits.

Art journaling in the Gunks

Art journaling in the Gunks

Do you keep a diary or a journal? What ways has your writing habit helped you out?

4 Responses to How keeping a notebook helped me win NaNoWriMo

  1. Congrats, Vanessa! We were rooting for you. It’s good to see that you won more than just a little out of your hard work.

  2. Congratulations on making it through! I always think I’d like to try NatNoWriMo, but the timing (November) is always awful for me.

    • Same here. I tried before in college but November was always the toughest month to get through. Unfortunately, winning this year meant I was a huge grump this month and kinda hard to live with. I’m writing a lengthy dedication to the SGT now. ;)

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