Guest Post: Kristine Meldrum Denholm (First-time NaNo’er!)

Confessions of a first-time NaNo writer: the Jitter-bug

By Kristine Meldrum Denholm

This is my first year attempting Nanowrimo, the 50,000 word journey, and I admit it, I’m anxious. I’m a non-fiction article writer, former journalism grad and former writer for a press office. Pretty decent at writing and reporting facts, feelings and guts. But do I have the guts to find some fiction in my fingers?

My previous attempt at novel writing went something like this:  Had great idea. Wrote it down. Wrote a chapter one month. Another the next. Got caught up in kid-raising and my freelance writing business and put the book on hold. Momentum killed. Two years later, it sits on chapter 6…or 7. But who’s counting?

Then I heard some mumblings of Nanowrimo, how it forces you to write a book in 30 days. I wrote Mary Jo: Can I do it? What are your tips? Can I pay you $10 to do it for me? OK, $20?

Mary Jo, a Nanowrimo winner last year (read: expert in my book), told me to relax, I’ll be OK. Besides, she’d be my buddy. (I clearly needed one.)

Just like I need good deadlines. Deadlines are why I’ve had articles published. The deadline is what Nanowrimo revolves around, why it works. So…

Here I am. On the trip. Goin’ fishin.

Only, my thoughts are something like this: “I don’t have the time…Should I write out more of a plot outline? Stephen King says to not get bogged down in plot, it’s a quick route to something dullard….Anne Lamott says do great characters….how do I know what my character would have for dinner?…How do I resolve the problem that character is facing, though?… I have to pick my son up from school right now… I just don’t have any time…and why is the Tru-Green man here right now, because he really doesn’t need to spray because I need the kids to play on the grass so I can write…Maybe I should write out 30 plot points…Maybe I should bug Mary Jo again about Nanowrimo….How am I going to get 50,000 words written? I don’t have time…Will I be able to feed my family too? What if we all come down with the swine flu and I can’t do Nano cuz I’m at the hospital and oh gosh…I just need to breathe…”

Any other non-fiction writers trying fiction? Anyone one else have a case of the Nano jitters? Drop me a line, if you can bear writing just one more line…

Kristine Meldrum Denholm is a professional  writer, published in books, newspapers and national trade publications. You can find her at or her blog for writers, “Stories of Life: One Writer-Mom’s Odyssey” at

word count:_2,200_______

P.S. I’m guest blogging on Kristine’s blog today  – check out my thoughts on NaNo!



Filed under Inspiration, NaNoWriMo

3 responses to “Guest Post: Kristine Meldrum Denholm (First-time NaNo’er!)

  1. Breathe, Kris, breathe! ;o) We will be OK. A lot of prayer and caffeine will get us to the finish line!

  2. Dedra Green

    Kris, I am waiting anxiously to read this story about fishing. You are going to be great. Let’s hear it!

  3. Thanks Marie and Dedra! Here’s an update for everyone: I’ve written 14,444 words so far out of the goal of 50,000! (Well, I didn’t say they were GOOD words:) ) I think I’ve just been so excited to start that I was writing furiously. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up this pace, but it feels great to finally start! I hope you all are busy writing and Nano’ing…let me know how you are doing!

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