nanowrimo-coverI have been noticeably absent from the keyboard. Nearly a year, in fact, but who has really been keeping count of the days?

I wish I could say I had writer’s block, but I don’t think that diagnosis fits all of my symptoms. I think “burnout” is a more accurate term for what I have been experiencing. After writing about Juba’s departure from the racing world and one piece I did for US Racing on the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (I), I took a little time away as a break. When I tried to return, I felt like nothing was interesting enough for me to spend time researching or writing about. Or I was tired or too busy with real world goings-on. Despite rolling out this beautiful new blog not too long ago, I just felt overcooked. I just wanted to be a fan for a while, if nothing else out of concern that this burnout would spread to the entire sport of racing for me. It was a logical concern too… I drive multiple hours to get to and from places like Belmont or Saratoga and I’m at the track starting at dawn and I don’t get back home until late at night.

It’s been a fun year away from the keyboard, which I hope to write a little about when the mood strikes. But for now, the purpose of this blog post. Part of my self-guided “treatment” of writers’ burnout is variety… sorry y’all, but it’s effin’ BORING to write about the same thing others are writing about ALL. THE TIME. And after some soul-searching and finding all of my old grade school awards for creative writing and English, I think it’s time to return to fiction writing. I am pleased to formally announce my first foray into the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge with Son of Juba.

Like many others, my first experience with horse racing was reading Walter Farley’s Man o’ War, and from there on out it’s history. I think about all the great (and not so great!) horse books written for young adults that I’ve talked about with others over the years. The “Ashleigh” Thoroughbred novels, the Black Stallion series, the Saddle Club… and remembering those books, I fondly remember that even all of those weren’t enough! So, as a fun way to get back into writing and switch gears, I will be writing a story about one of my favorite real-life horses, Juba, for my challenge. For those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write a minimum of 50,000 words during the month of November. It’s been a bucket list item for me for a couple years now, and I’m excited to hop back into the swing of things and delve into a big project that will demand all of my discipline and focus. I am currently in the outlining/prep stage and will begin to freewrite some areas of the book this weekend.

Beyond that, I am hush hush!

Please if you know anyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo have them add me on the website (dawnallama) or reach out to me on social media. I need all the encouragement I can get!

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