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Website of author and professional editor Rachelle M. N. Shaw. Find information about her books, her editing services, and her blog, From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing.

From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing

From Mind to Paper is a blog for writers, editors, and those interested in the English language. It covers a multitude of writing topics, from punctuation and grammar to plot development, character development, and world building. In addition to in-depth articles about various writing topics, this blog also has a number of series posts, which are currently being transformed into a nonfiction series on writing.

Not Your Typical NaNoWriMo Writer

Rachelle M. N. Shaw


That dreaded time is almost upon us, and many of us who are participating in NaNoWriMo this year are either lying on the floor twitching or feverishly scribbling our outlines for the event.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is a month-long commitment that many writers make each year to hammer out a 50,000-word novel or longer during the month of November. For the past two years, I've participated in the event, but I'm not exactly your typical NaNoWriMo writer. For one, my goal isn't to write a novel. It's usually to write a short story, a series of blog posts, or a combination of my works in progress. Secondly, I'm not fussed about hitting 50,000 words. Truly—I just want to finish my darn projects! So I happily accept my label in that corner of the Internet as a NaNo rebel. It suits me, and I don't have plans to change my approach any time soon. Here's why.

The whole goal of NaNoWriMo is to get you writing. It's a time to discipline yourself, sit down, and get those words out any way you can, whether it's your first book or your hundredth. But I'm not really one that thrives or writes well under pressure. I know that and freely admit to it. I have anxiety—something I don't often share with others. It's a burden I've dealt with my whole life, and this year has been a challenging one, perhaps more so than any other year. Between receiving a substantial diagnosis for both of my kids and managing trips to their therapies on top of it, my life has been turned upside down. So I’ve come to terms with the fact that following the traditional NaNoWriMo path won’t work for me, or my family. But I refuse to give up, so I’ve adapted the concept. After all, writing isn’t just a hobby for me; it’s my career and a huge part of my identity.

Sure, there are those who continue to fling discouraging words at me, telling me that I’m not a real writer if I can’t do something as simple as dedicating a whole month to it. But I’ve learned to ignore the Debbie Downers. Being a rebel isn’t my way of slacking or making excuses; it’s my way of compromising and staying true to myself while giving the most important people in my life what they need. Am I going to write 50,000 words next month? Probably not. But I'm still participating. I've got plenty to work on, everything from blog posts and scripts for a new podcast I'll be doing, as well as the first draft of another book in The Porcelain Souls series. I’m writing, pushing forward despite all the hardships. And that’s good enough for me.