“Stephania, little dragon, fate has been so unkind to you.” Aeron's voice was so quiet, she wondered if it would be taken away on the night breeze. “Do not stop your tears, do not lessen the pain, do not let it be buried inside of you. If the night must last for a hundred years, then let it. Better to sleep in the night than to burn in the day.”
—Aeron (Heir of Two Kingdoms)
I officially finished Camp NaNoWriMo on July 21st! It took exactly 3 weeks and I ended up finishing early! Here are my stats. The last week was probably my most productive and I did a total of 24,019. Most of it was super easy though because not much needed to be rewritten or edited.
Since then, I've continued working on it and I now have 83,629 total words written! Only 40k more to get to my goal! (cue hysterical laughter)
To be honest, I wasn't sure I was gonna make it. Often times, I'll start huge projects like this and then either get too buys, or I'll think I'm not good enough and sabotage myself.
But NaNoWriMo this month taught me that I can start and finish big things like this and it gave me a confidence boost I really needed, not to mention so much motivation just seeing so much progress. But most importantly, it taught me that I can make boundaries to tell people "no, I'm working," and that I can write professionally and make it a priority.
I've been stuck so long in just thinking that writing is simply a hobby, even if I am actively trying to make it my career, and this has been a huge break through for me.
That doesn't mean it hasn't been hard though. June was a really rough month for me and by the time I got to July, I got hit with depression pretty bad. It also didn't help that the stuff I was writing was super depressing as well! but by having the accountability from some lovely people in camp group chats, my friends and family's support, and the NaNoWriMo progress tracking, I somehow managed to push, even when it was hard to see the screen through tears.
To those people who are slogging through their own works, whether you're drafting, editing, rewriting, or publishing, you can do this; I believe in you!!! And to those who don't feel like they can do it or keep pushing, you are doing amazing; remember, progress is progress, even if it is only a few words. It really does add up.
Keep pushing on. The best is yet to come! Your work will pay off and you'll be able to look back and see how far you've come and how strong and capable you are.
Without further ado, here's the final excerpt from what I wrote this last month!
(no spoilers! and its from Trojan's POV <3)
“Trojan, little hooves. You need to go take a walk or get some sleep.” Frawnden’s gentle voice drifted in from the cracked door. “Trojan?”
He startled from his trace, kneeling beside Stephania’s bed, his gaze breaking away from her sleeping face. “Huh?”
“Did you hear what I said?”
He shook his head and turned back to Stephania, his hand tightening around hers.
“I said you should take a walk or nap. You’ve hardly left her side in the last day.”
“What if she wakes when I’m gone?”
Silence ached in the room.
Stephania had been in a coma-like state for almost twenty-four hours now since she regained her memories in the tomb forest. Thankfully, it had been a restful sleep, but that hadn’t eased the anxiety of her friends and family. Artigal had been unusually distant since then and they’d had to do without his help.
“I think you’ll be just fine. Please come. You’re obsessing.”
A scowled drew down his lips and he muttered something under his breath. She waited until he stood, his knees popping loudly and a grunt escaping his lips after finally getting out of the same position he had been in for hours. He still held onto her small, pale hand, his gaze focused on her. Finally, he squeezed before letting go. He cast a glance over his shoulder, just in case her eyes had fluttered open in the spare moments he had looked away. A grunt of displeasure rumbled in his chest when he saw she hadn’t and he dragged himself out of the room behind Frawnden, shutting the door gently behind him.
“What will you do?”
He looked down at Frawnden. Determination shone in her eyes and he knew she wouldn’t leave him alone until she was certain he would either sleep or get his mind of Stephania.
“I’ll walk, I suppose.”
She nodded, seemingly satisfied with his answer. “When you do so, try not to think too much about her, okay little hooves?”
A smile made its way onto his face as the endearing Centaur nickname. “What else is there to think of?”
Her brown hair waved across her shoulders as she shook her head in slight amusement. “I heard Dakar and Logan are coming home early. They won the battle at the Domain border quicker than expected. I suppose you could think of them.”
Dakar and Logan were his brothers in war. They had all saved each other’s lives more times than they could count. They had been with him through training and had been under his command for as long as he could remember. He hadn’t seen them for a good six months and it wasn’t until his mother mentioned them that he realized how much he missed them.
“I suppose I shall.” He smiled tenderly as he kissed her check and she patted his.
“Good. I’ll be making remedial tinctures in the kitchen. I won’t be far from her.”
He nodded but then added, “I know.” He didn’t want her thinking he didn’t trust her to take care of Stephania. After all, she was her mother and his own too. But after what happened with Collen, the Lyre, Artigal, and then just yesterday with the memories, he knew he could never protect her enough, could never be too careful.
It took every measure of willpower within him to walk through their house, out the door, down the steps, and into the woods. When the branches and leaves closed around him, he breathed a sigh of relief. It didn’t do him well to leave the forest for too long. After all, his soul was connected to it intimately.
Before he realized how long he had walked, he was standing at the edge of a stream where the water collected into a little pool before continuing in.
It took a moment for him to recognize the place.
It was where he and Stephania had swam the day they had gone to demonstrate her archery before Artigal. The day she created magic. The day that changed everything.
A whirlwind of emotions raged within him.
Almost nothing had changed. A small patch of clover they used to lay in to watch the birds was still flourishing, though a few saplings had taken over the far corners of it. A large rock jutted out over the deepest end of the pool. He remembered running of it and splashing into the cool water. A rope had once hung from the branch above; Aeron had hung it for Stephania to swing off of. He looked for it but couldn’t find it. I guess some things do change over time.
He closed his eyes, letting the emotions surface. Relief that it was almost completely unchanged. Nostalgia for all the joy he and Stephania had shared here. Disappointment that time would keep changing it little by little until he wouldn’t recognize it. Anger that it was one of the last things they had done in Trans-Falls before they were forced to take Stephania to New-Fars. And a strange, swirling anxious joy that Stephania would awaken and she would remember it too.
He clenched his hands, hardly able to quell the strange feeling that rose within him. She would wake up. And she would have her memories back. He had waited so long for it, now that it was within reach, he didn’t know how to deal with it.
“I thought I might find you here.”
Everything in him froze. He tried several times to speak before his voice would let him. “Stephania?” Slowly, he turned around, as if afraid it was all just an illusion.