an image of the author with a text overlay that reads, "Goodbye National Novel Writing Month. Hello Dressember"
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Goodbye, National Novel Writing Month. Hello, Dressember

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National Novel Writing Month has come to an end. Now it's time to get ready for Dressember!

an image of the author with a text overlay that reads, "Goodbye National Novel Writing Month. Hello Dressember"

So, it's been over a month since you've heard from me, and if you read my last post, you likely know why. I decided to give NaNoWriMo a try. And guess what? I completed the Challenge!

Somehow, I managed to eke past the finish line of 50,000 words with eleven words to spare. It was rough; even harder than I thought it would be.

I wrote for 29 out of 30 days, for an hour or two each day. I know that sixty hours seems like nothing...but when you're homeschooling two kids and have an eight-month-old and a preschooler to boot, those sixty hours are about all you get to yourself in a month. I was up at 5:30 every day to write half my words and squeezed in the other half after everyone was asleep.

Writing to a deadline like the one imposed by National Novel Writing Month forces me to abandon my typical writing habits, like stopping every paragraph to research an historical event or setting, or looking up every adjective in the thesaurus to make it more colourful (or vivid?). It is exhilarating and life-giving, even if the end product is less than first rate.

By ten p.m. on November 30th, I was scrambling to write my last few words and submit them to the official word counter, and as the page finished loading and announced that I had achieved my goal, I felt as though I'd just finished running a marathon. (Not that I have any idea what that actually feels like, of course! That is way out of my league!).

Due to the wonders of perfect timing, I ended up getting called in for a surgery on December 1, the morning after my marathon writing month. It wasn't supposed to happen until next spring, but I guess there was a cancellation and the spot was offered to me.

The timing couldn't have been better. I'd already done most of my December tasks in October in preparation for NaNo, I had my 50,000 words out of the way. I was totally set for two weeks of lying in bed recovering!

Fast forward 48 hours and I'm lying on a makeshift bed on the living room floor, checking out Facebook on my lovely new computer (such a joy!), and lamenting my  inability to do anything interesting.

One of my dear friends has undertaken the Dressember challenge for the third year in a row. Dressember, in case you haven't heard of it, is the female response to Movember. It's a fundraising and awareness building movement that has been growing exponentially since 2013. Participants commit to wearing a dress every day for the month of December to raise money for anti-slavery and human trafficking organizations such as International Justice Mission, A21, and McMahon Ryan.

For the past few years, I have watched my friends participate in this campaign and share their stories on Facebook. I can't say why, but this year, it just impacted me differently. When I read my friend's post, my first thought was, here's something that I can do while I'm recovering to feel like I'm still making a difference instead of feeling useless. Without thinking, I headed over to her team's web page and signed myself up for it.

I don't know if I am crazy or not--these challenges were definitely not part of my plan for this year, and they feel like they have the potential to become distractions. But somehow, I think they may be one of the factors helping me to stay sane. I guess we'll find out:).

Update (Jan 5, 2018): By the end of December, our small team had raised over $3500 USD for the Dressember campaign. That makes it all worth it!

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