Lessons in Following my Dreams & NaNoWriMo Win

I’m back!

Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?she-turned-to-the-sunlight-and-shook-her-yellow-headand-whispered-to-her-neighbor-winter-is-dead-12

Regardless, I missed you my blogging pals and I am happy to be back in action just in time for this wonderful Christmas season. Yay!

As you may know,  from my previous post, I have been enveloped in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) during the month of November. A task that took me begrudgingly away from my blog and all of you.

However, this was the kind of break that I really benefited from, I stretched my creative limitations and expanded the barriers of what I thought was possible for myself. The true success in completion if you ask me.

And in the end, yes I did it! I completed the challenge, write 50,000 words during the month of November.


I simply had to share this dose of small creative joy with you all, and share how I felt during this process. Maybe you too are looking for that extra push to go out on a limb and follow a dream, expand your own boundaries and create a crazy goal for yourself and accomplish it.

When I was younger before thoughts of boys, bills and business clouded my mind I would sit and write for hours and hours. I wrote poems, short stories, I would start and not finish many a novel.

I simply loved to write, and obviously, I still do.

Then it all stopped…

So what happened? Well, I have no idea really, I mean life got in the way I guess. When I started blogging my passion for writing was once again sparked, and I realised the true importance of feeding my passions no matter what they were. That’s why I take the time to blog because I know it’s something that is good for my mind, body, and soul.

But my true dream has always been… gulp…

To write novels. There it is it’s out there.

To sit lonely and creatively driven mad in some desolate cabin in the woods, a smoky Parisian cafe or a crowded hipster coffee shop. Writing and pining over the development of characters and uncharted worlds. A romantic dream of whimsical me.

So what has been stopping me from achieving this enchanting dream of mine?

Time & confidence.

The first hurdle to overcome and finish my first NaNoWriMo was taking the time to actually write. That meant time away from my blog, time send in coffee shops or waking up early on weekends. It meant taking time away from social obligations to write instead.

It wasn’t actually difficult to do when I made writing the priority. As I mentioned that is kind of my dream. In most circumstances, I would rather be writing anyway. So it kind of came down to me needing to prioritize taking the time to do what I really love, something we all struggle with surely.

The second hurdle was my lack of confidence.

You see, I often compared myself to my favorite authors which of course made me feel like a small worthless illiterate fool who is not even worthy of trying. Obviously, that is a slippery and dark slope, but seriously my inner critic is a terrible ogre.

So my solution? I decided that for the month of November I would take the comparing and competing out of the equation all togeather. I silenced my inner critic for the time being and decided to write with no filter at all.

The result? A very rough and messy first draft of something, start till finish. What a journey it was. When I started everything was one way and when I finished it was all another way. I am sure as I begin to edit the mess of my first drafted novel it will be changed many more times in between.

What a mess of beautiful words and ideas all crafted by little old me.

I have never finished a novel before, I have never finished a novel in one month before. Two things that at the beginning of this month I did not think I would ever be able to do. But here I am, smiling in my small success, a win against for my inner critic. *$#* you ogre!

This completion has given me the confidence to add more outlandish goals to my list.

Like, edit my ridiculous first draft for example.

So to you my beautiful and supportive blogging friends I say this… Why not make a crazy goal and go for it? It might start as one thing and end as a better thing. Who knows your perspective of your own abilities may change in the process.

Really what’s wrong with all that? It’s not as scary as you think!

So what’s your secret dream?

Now that I am back are you all ready for some festive fun? Stay tuned for your invite to the Scale it Simples Festive Feelings Blog Party!


  1. ignitedmoth | 1st Dec 16

    Congratulations on completing NaNoWriMo! That is no easy task. And thank you for sharing the things that you felt were previously holding you back and you got past all of it to complete your writing goal. Very inspiring. 🙂

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you very much! It was a struggle but I am glad that I did it 🙂

  2. nihaojulia | 1st Dec 16


  3. mr.M | 1st Dec 16

    Congrats! To write 50.000 words in a month it’s not easy. I admire you! Yes, I agree with you every blogger must set sometimes some “crazy” goals, and to try to reach that. I’m so happy for you

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you very much! It was a awesome learning experience!

  4. khansana1000 | 1st Dec 16

    Congratulations for completing the challenge ! that too your first book in a month ! I feel inspired .

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you! there is still a lot of fixing to do and I don’t know if I will ever show anyone but … yay! I finished it 🙂

  5. Gary | 1st Dec 16

    Congratulations Steph, I saw your winners badge go up on NaNo and have been following your progress. You could also have written this post about me!! So many similarities in terms of confidence, first NaNo and self esteem, coming back to writing after a hiatus….it’s all there lol

    I’ll be blogging my HURRAH, tomorrow…right now I’m sitting back feeling smug!

    Great job, and even though I’m a relatively new follower…yeah, did miss you and the blogosphere too!!

    Well done you 😊

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you so much! You were a great support. I think a lot of people feel the same first starting out. Congrats on reaching your goal! Now to keep the momentum going 🙂

      • Gary | 1st Dec 16

        I have to, mines not finished as a novel yet!! Maybe five more chapters to go 😱

        That said, I’ve never written that many words in just one month. I’m already linking up with people who want to have a go next year too. We have August penned in to start linking up and begins the psyching up process lol.

        Thanks to you too. Watching you flow through after you fell out with the story very early on (if I remember right), was amazing. That would have been a very easy point to just stop, but you didn’t!

        • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

          Thanks! That was a point of struggle for me. I still have a few chapters to add in at the end also, I am just happy to have reached the 50,000 words. 🙂

          • Gary | 1st Dec 16

            Probably better to have that worry near the start rather than with a few days to go! True re the 50,000 words. When you think about it that is a pretty impressive achievement over 30 days with real life things going on at the same time. The fact that there are a few chapters left is also not that bad either. I mean without November there would still be an entire book waiting to come out! I think for me it’s just settling in. Must cease being smug and get on with the blog post and finish what NaNo started 😊

          • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

            Yes, I should probably do the same and finish it, before I lose all momentum. Thanks again!

          • Gary | 1st Dec 16

            Or before a new project starts banging on the door. What say we finish them before Christmas…seems an easy reach after the bulk of it is done 🤔

          • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

            Good idea! I am in!

          • Gary | 1st Dec 16

            Excellent, especially as I just finished the current chapter 😇 Although I think I have around five more to do 😱

  6. Wellspring Health and Wellness | 1st Dec 16

    Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for you! Great work, especially of deciding to put your inner critic on hold for the month. That in itself is not an easy task let alone writing an entire first draft of a novel in a month. Well done!

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you very much!

  7. Marianthi || breathsndreams | 1st Dec 16

    Congratulations!! I admire you so much for completing such a hard task!! I hope one day I`ll find the strength to participate on such a project!! 🙂 Marianthi, xo

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      It was a lot of fun! You should definitely give it a try sometime. Check it off your bucket list 🙂

  8. travelwithclem | 1st Dec 16

    Hi Steph! I saw that you stopped by on my blog, and I wanted to check out yours as well. What a gold mine I have stumbled upon!

    First and foremost, congrats on this huge achievement. I can’t but feel glad whenever someone decides to push his/her own boundaries, conquers his/her fears. I hope to get a chance to reach your novel one day, once it’s finished! Can’t wait to hear more about this novel!

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope I can finish it and maybe you can let me know what you think of it. 🙂

  9. Jon | 1st Dec 16

    Welcome back! Looking forward to seeing more of your posts soon!

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      Thank you very much!

  10. classyqueeny | 1st Dec 16

    Welcome back!

  11. ladybug165 | 1st Dec 16

    That’s great I’m glad you accomplished your goal! It gives me some motivation ! I enjoy your writing keep it up you never know where it will take you !

    • StephJ | 2nd Dec 16

      Thank you very much for your encouraging words!

  12. Following Him | 1st Dec 16

    Welcome back, and congratulations on your first NaNoWriMo win! 😀 This year was my second. I felt the same way when starting out (and sometimes still do) but writing has been my passion as well for so long, that I can’t imagine not writing. 🙂 Editing on the other hand… o_O Haha. Not quite as enjoyable for me. XD Good luck with finishing your project! ♥

    • StephJ | 2nd Dec 16

      Thank you very much! I am nervous to edit it all, I have trouble in that area also. Thanks again for the kind words 🙂

  13. Angeloftheshore | 2nd Dec 16

    So cool, congratulations!

  14. Nícia | 2nd Dec 16

    congratulations! i hope you make a hell of a party out of this, you deserve it. 🙂
    my dream is to travel the world and listen to people stories, so then i can share them. so anyone that would like to tell their story, here i am. willing to listen to you. <3

  15. Paige Strand | 3rd Dec 16

    This is such a great post – there are so many factors that impact how and when we reach success. Time and confidence are likely the most simplified reasons as to why many people face difficulty in reaching their goals. I can even think of a time for myself where that impacted my goals.

    • StephJ | 3rd Dec 16

      Thank you for reading! ☺️

  16. live_a_life_less_ordinary | 3rd Dec 16

    Good job!

    I went through a phase in my late teens and early 20s when I did a lot of creative writing for fun, mostly short stories and poems but I had a draft of a short novel at one point, as well as another one I never completely finished. I reworked them a few times over the years, but I gave up eventually because they weren’t really stories I wanted to tell anymore, if that makes sense…

    Every once in a while, though, I’ll still get an idea and feel inspired to write. I wrote a short story in 2013 that my friends who read it all really seemed to like, and I wrote another short novel first draft off and on from 2014-16. It probably needs a lot more work, but finishing it was a feeling of accomplishment. It’s based on something that happened to me in real life that just felt like it would make a good story to tell.

    What’s your novel about?

  17. lakeafton | 4th Dec 16

    Congratulations. It’s not easy to find the time to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

    • StephJ | 4th Dec 16

      It was lot of work. Thanks you!

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