Achieving My Audacious Goal: My First Novel

Guest post by MK Jorgenson, author of Regardless

I have a distinct memory from when I was five. There are no images or places or events attached to it, but the memory is strong: it was the moment I decided that I would write a book someday.

The planted seed of that dream remained buried during my growing-up years, building deep roots as I wrote essays and stories for classes and poetry in my spare time. My dream lay dormant during the busy days of college, the blur of getting married, moving to a new state, setting up a home, and welcoming our first precious baby.

Then it crept up on me, a tiny bud pushing through the soil of my new life, whispering that it was now or never: “The baby naps so well, you have an encouraging husband, you have a plot…”

It’s been nearly a year in the making, but it’s finished! Though the process was sweet and life-changing, there were some very practical steps that made this possible:

  • I created stakes. November is National Novel Writing Month, in which aspiring authors can sign up, post their daily word count, and “win” a certificate if they write 50,000 words during November. The website has forums where writers can connect locally and by genre. Going after a prize (even one as silly as a print-yourself certificate) helped spur me on to “win”.
  • I set daily goals. Crystal talks often about breaking big goals into smaller ones, which I found crucial during NaNoWriMo. To reach the 50,000 word count goal, I had to write 1,667 words a day—more than that to avoid writing on Sundays.  Knowing I had to hit that number within my writing time helped a lot.
  • I made the time. Not everybody’s in the place to write a novel; I was fortunate to have a newborn who napped very well and at predictable times, so I knew when I could work. Now, she is fourteen months old but still takes one big nap, so I can still write every day.
  • I made myself accountable. Every day when I finished writing, I posted my word count on Facebook. People were very supportive, which only spurred me on all the more.
  • I gave myself grace. 50,000 words does not a novel make; after the NaNoWriMo challenge was over, there was still more work to be done. Then there was editing, formatting, and artwork. Plus there was a grad student husband who needed encouraging, a baby girl who needed loving, and a house that needed cleaning. If I had kept up my NaNo pace, I would have published six months ago, but I am truly loving the balance I’ve struck between my “work” (which is my passion) and my “job” as mother and wife (which is my greater passion).

So a seedling dream becomes a reality, and now that I’m pre-writing my next novel, it might become an entire orchard.

MK Jorgenson is a first-time author, wife, mother, and Jesus follower. When she’s not frantically typing during naptime, she loves walks to the park and reading story after story with her daughter. Her debut novel, Regardless (inspired by events in the book of Acts), is available on Kindle, Nook, and in paperback through Amazon. She can also be found blogging at mkjorgenson.blogspot.com.

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Comments

  1. says

    Awesome! You inspire me. I’ve had a writing dream since I was a kid. I want to write for national magazines and online publications. I just turned 30 last week and felt a little down about not reaching my goals … I just need to break it down. Congrats on reaching your goal!

  2. says

    Very inspiring story and helpful that you outlined the steps you took. What a good idea to share your daily word count with others and to write during nap time since that worked out best for your family. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

  3. says

    Definitely! This is quite inspiring. I love to know that there are folks out there who are achieving their lifelong goals, who are breaking into fields that they want to, and generally conquering the world. :)

    • Mary says

      Congratulations! I too, have a dream of writing a novel. But I need to break it down in baby steps. Your book looks very interesting.

  4. says

    Congrats on writing your first book! I’ve never been able to do NANOWRIMO. I’m super impressed you were able to write with a newborn! My writing has slacked off tremendously since having twins last July. I’m distracted by *everything*.

    Congrats again!

  5. Ellen says

    Congratulations! I just bought your book on Kindle for $0.99 (what a deal!) and am looking forward to reading it. It sounds very interesting.

    • says

      Hi Lucky! I did the publishing myself, uploading the manuscript and artwork to Nook and Kindle myself, then I worked with CreateSpace to publish the paperback copies. I wanted to be able to share the book with friends and family without having to wait and be discovered by a publisher. It may not become a bestseller this way, but it’s been a fun ride anyway! :D

  6. Chelsea says

    Thanks for sharing your story! It’s very inspirational to see evidence of just putting your mind to something and getting it done. I’m very impressed! Congratulations :)

  7. says

    Congratulations! I am also publishing my first novel (this month!!), a novel that started out as a NaNoWriMo novel, and I feel the same way about so many of the things you said! I would love to be able to just sit and write every day, occasionally get up to dust, but instead I’m just thankful for where I am any ways.
    Congrats again on your novel! I’ll definitely be checking it out! =]

  8. says

    Wow, congratulations! I love the way you outlined your steps! One of my passions is writing, and I dream of being published someday as well. I don’t think I’ve ever made it to 50,000 words in my NaNoWriMo attempts, but I’m not giving up. Thanks for the inspirational story!

  9. says

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! I have dreamt of writing a novel for years now and have come up with a wonderful story line and plot, but have never taken that step to focus and get it done.

    You have inspired me to do it! I am so grateful to you for this post :)