I’m a little excited over this year’s National Novel Writing Month. So much so that I’ve already started sketching out ideas. I’m not usually one to plan my writing–I tend to just sit down and write and let what happens happen–but I finished my novel back in 2017 and I’m determined to finish again this year. I just kind of ran out of steam early last year and barely broke 10k words; I want to hit the finish line once more, as that was an incredible feeling.

If you’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, I highly encourage you to do so, especially if you’ve always wanted to write a novel and just have never found the time. It feels remarkably good to create something, and when you hit 50k words and know that your novel–yes, YOUR novel–is complete, you’ll feel on top of the world. If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it’s just what it sounds like; each November, writers amateur and professional alike pledge to write a novel of at least 50 thousand words. That sounds like a daunting task, and it is, but if you just let yourself go and write the novel inside of you those words will just fly onto the page.

That’s what I did in 2017. I wrote a novel that I had been avoiding writing for years, wanting to write something different or simply being afraid to encounter such dark and personal material as that novel would demand. However, I gave in and wrote some of the best writing I’ve ever produced. I have high hopes for this novel’s success in the future.

November will be here before you know it, so don’t put off making an outline or doing some character development beforehand–just don’t actually start writing until November 1st! Or do start writing, and just be prepared to set it aside and work on something different. You can never have too many projects.

Hunting Season

For a few years, my little brother and I went hunting at least a couple of times each season. We hunted squirrel, with only once or twice going out with any intention of getting deer. We enjoyed it, even if our hunts were not fruitful. Then, one year my wife and I got a bearded dragon from Pet Smart. We did not know that the little guy was sick when we purchased him, thanks in large part to the negligence of said business, and he died after just a week. It was a horrible experience; he had a bone disorder that caused him great pain, and we watched him die over several agonizing hours. After that experience, I was convinced I couldn’t watch an animal die, at least for some time, so I took a break from hunting. After all, watching an animal die is a possibility when hunting.

But I’ve healed from that ordeal and I’m ready to get back to it. I’ve missed going out into the crisp autumn air at the break of day, the comforting weight of my boots on my feet, the slow crunch of dead leaves underneath as we crept through the woods, hoping not to startle potential game. It was my one chance at true adventure, given that my job has me firmly planted at a desk indoors–which is fine, but it’s nice to have a change of pace.

My decision to revisit this hobby came as I started writing a new book. It’s about a hunter who has to confront his own painful past as he tracks down a dangerous bear that seems to be as unnatural as a ghost. Writing this has got me thinking fondly of my memories with my little brother and, on a couple of occasions, my mother, who accompanied us as an observer.

So come this autumn, I will probably find myself out in the woods once more, shotgun in hand, hoping to bring home a harvest to share with my family.