NaNoWriMo 2022 Winner

Certificate that certifies Justin Tadlock won National Novel Writing Month 2022.

The sea called to her. It was but a whisper, the waves receding before their next peak, a song that continued, rising and falling, rising and falling. Her people had danced to it since the dawn of time. They had only forgotten in recent memory. But it was still a part of her soul. She could feel the rhythm of her ancestors guiding her, forcing her feet to move with the steady beat of the waves and the melody of the rushing wind.

She and her ancestors continued this dance as she let her hand fall. She no longer needed the tunnel’s walls to find her way. She closed her eyes and stopped fighting the distant wind and waves. She just was. Mustering all of the strength of her people, she let the call of the sea guide her.

I am not going to lie and say this was the easiest National Novel Writing Month I’ve bested. I contemplated throwing in the towel multiple times this year. There were days when I felt like I had nothing left to give. There were moments when I questioned this project altogether and whether I truly had what it takes to be a novelist.

I suppose that there has never been a writer in history who didn’t struggle with those same thoughts. Self-doubt is a well-known personality trait of folks who decide to put pen to paper and tell stories.

November began in the third week of coddling Oreo, one of my cats who had surgery on his ear. He was—without any doubt whatsoever—the toughest pet I’ve ever had go through something similar. But, at least he got his stitches removed at the end of Week 1 of this year’s challenge.

I had a company meetup in Denver during the second week of the month. That event alone should have told me that it was not the best time to be writing a novel.

I came down with an irritating cold during the third week.

And, of course, Thanksgiving is always a challenge in the home stretch. But, the universe or the powers that be or whatever decided to have a little fun at my expense during what should have been a nice five-day staycation. They gifted me an underground water leak in the front yard. Fortunately, it only cost me a few dollars in material to fix, and my dad did most of the digging with his tractor. But, it was exhausting work.

Through all of that, I still managed to write 50K words through the month of November and capture my third NaNoWriMo win.

It was a slow crawl over the finish line. My total for this year’s challenge was 50,023 words, which I hit just a couple of hours before the deadline.

I should feel a bit more triumphant about the win, but a small part of me is simply glad that it’s over. My heart has not really been in it over the last week. The water leak was the thing that finally broke me down both mentally and physically. I know that I should be super proud of the accomplishment, but it has been hard to muster as much as excitement as I’ve had for past wins.

Maybe I simply need a few days to rest and recharge.

As for the novel, I believe there is a story worth telling in there. I love how some of the characters have developed, particularly the young girl from the excerpt at the beginning of this post. I didn’t set out for her to be the primary character, but she has started becoming this strong young woman who has had to overcome impossible odds. I don’t know how her story ends, but I would like to find out. And, that’s half the fun of writing. I get to hear the story before anyone else does.

While I am not bouncing off the walls about “the win,” I am excited about the characters who have allowed me to come on this journey with them. There’s always a little something magical about hearing their stories for the first time. As long as I can still feel that magic, I guess I’ll just keep writing.