For the past three Novembers, cooking for Thanksgiving has been very last minute and a lot harder. I was reluctant to even get into the holiday spirit until December 1st.
I’ll tell you why, and I’ll also tell you why this year is different. But first, the recipe to look forward to at the end of this post:
Have you ever heard of this little thing called NaNoWriMo? It’s short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s true, I am an aspiring novelist. I have been since I was in middle school, although practicality and life always got in the way of trying to achieve my dream.
Then I heard of this NaNoWriMo thing: a non-profit organization that challenges you to write an entire novel in November. 50,000 words that is. In thirty days.
The first year I heard of it I thought maybe I’d give it a shot. I toyed with the idea. I wrote down some stories that had been fighting for recognition in the back of my mind.
But I never went through with it. Maybe I was just focused on other things.
The year after that, 2012, I put my foot down. I was going to do it. But when I picked my story and sat down to write, I had a huge wake up call. Writing 50,000 words is hard. Writing them well is even harder. I had an embarrassing collection of 25,000 words by the end of the month.
But last year, that was when I finally did it. I wrote 50,000 words, adding to my previous attempt at the same story for a total of 78,000 words. I had written a novel. Check one box off the bucket list.
The problem was, it was absolutely horrible. I spent the next year going back to it again and again, editing and editing and trying to make it readable.
I don’t regret all this time spent editing. It was a major learning experience. Because this year when November came around, I found my writing to be majorly improved.
Not only have I written 45,000 words before Thanksgiving, but I’ve also kept my apartment clean, gotten into the holiday spirit, and have even kept up a regular social schedule, along with posting blog entries and doing my day job. To be so much more improved has been a huge confidence booster. It is true that hard work pays off.
I’m looking at a really great story right now, one that I am not reluctant to share unedited. One that I am in love with. And here I am comfortably posting another recipe, with Thanksgiving only days away.
I just want to say to follow your dreams. It’s going to be hard. There are going to be things in the way. And maybe you won’t get it on the first go. But keep trying. Eventually, practice may not make perfect, but it will get you farther than you ever thought possible, even in your darkest moments of despair. Three years ago, writing a novel was a daunting task. But now? 50,000 words in a month? No biggie. I got this.
And just to prove it, here’s a deliciously thick and fluffy smoothie with a tart, creamy finish, made from the Thanksgiving dinner ingredients you already have in your kitchen, to help get you into the holiday spirit, too.
Happy NaNoWriMo! Happy Thanksgiving!
- 1/2 cup raw cranberries, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- dash allspice
- dash cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste.