NaNoWriMo 2013 Halfway Point

Can you believe we're halfway through November? To those of you doing NaNoWriMo, I hope it's going well! We're all supposed to reach 25k today, and I'm happy to say I'm on track right now. I hit 24k last night, so I should be able to get to 25k or beyond today.

I originally planned to write my YA fantasy for NaNo, and I did write 2k words on the first day. But it all felt... off. Like I needed to do more research, needed to think about the world and the characters more, something. I needed to take my time with it, and that doesn't really work with NaNo.

So on Day 2 of NaNo I decided to try an idea I'd played with for about a year, but didn't think I'd ever write - because it's contemporary. I love YA contemporary and many of my critique partners write it, but I always thought of myself as a science fiction and fantasy author. Until this point, all my ideas had some sci-fi or magical element to them. I honestly didn't know if I could pull off a book without those things, but I decided to go for it anyway. I figured if the book was terrible, I'd have only wasted a month on it, and I could go back to working on the fantasy in December.

Now, at the halfway point, I have no idea if the book is any good, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. The book is about a teen girl who plays guitar and joins a rock band, and they go on a show similar to The Voice. There's competition and rock music and secret romances and family drama, and I'm loving it.

Part of the reason I'm having so much fun is that I used to play guitar when I was a teenager. I wasn't very good, because I never put in the time to practice, and didn't understand why I wasn't magically an expert overnight - but I still dreamed of being a rock star. I had three guitars, but when life happened (college, work, marriage, and all that good stuff) the guitars were packed away in the garage, and sat there for many years.

My pretty guitars.

I pulled them out last month. I cleaned them up. I put new strings on them. And now I'm learning to play again. It's hard - I'm basically starting from scratch, and my fingers hurt, and I'm terrible at it. But writing books has taught me a lot about patience and practice and hard work, and that you don't get good at something overnight. I know what it is to try, and fail, and get back up again. So I'm going to stick with it, even when my hand cramps up and I want to throw the guitar across the room. Just like I'm going to keep writing this first draft and get to 50k by November 30, even when I want to set the book on fire. Just like I'm going to keep trying to get published and won't give up on my dreams, even when they seem impossible.

There's something magical about opening a guitar case.

Did you ever play guitar or another instrument? If you're doing NaNo, how's it going so far?