I still have two sections I’ll be writing for Welcome the Valleys before NaNoWriMo closes out. Between the post-holiday snoozing and having extra family in the house, however, I wasn’t able to sit down and focus on the story yesterday.
So, given the season, I wanted to take some time to give thanks to all of you who have made this journey a wonderful adventure. Blogging is a strange practice, equal parts commentary and journal, and I can never really be certain if anyone is going to read what I’ve written. There are times when I feel I’ve authored a fantastic post which people can’t help but read, only to see silence in the stats. There are other times when I’m tired and stressed and consider a post to be a “throw away,” and people end up liking it very much.
Now, I don’t blog to get noticed. In fact, for me, it’s a spiritual discipline. Blogging every day in 2015 was a challenge encouraged by my friend, Jamison, to create something every day. It’s been a great adventure.
But it is nice to know someone is reading.
This is what made dedicating November to NaNoWriMo so daunting. If no one read the material, it might become a burden to continue writing the story. I might even have become discouraged enough to put Jeremy’s tale on hiatus until I recovered. In hope, I decided to jump in. “Hope” is in the name of my blog, after all.
The readers of Painfully Hopeful, though, helped make sure I wasn’t going to face a bout of writer’s depression1. Whether you are a subscriber, or if you followed the NaNoWriMo tag here just to read a segment, you made this journey a pleasure 2. So, let me give you some updates.
I had never intended to get to the 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo. Between my ABCNJ work, sermon preparation, and blogging dedicating November to reach 50,000 words in any one area would have been a stretch.
Nevertheless, I have managed to add 33,355 word to my manuscript. All total, *Welcome to the Valleys” is currently 72,085 words – and I still have three chapters left to write!
As I said. I don’t blog to get noticed, but it is nice to know someone is reading these posts. Throughout my year of daily blogging I’ve seen engagement from people increase across my WordPress stats, but most noticeably in the number of “likes” received. Some time ago I set a mental milestone for myself of achieving 100 likes in a month. Painfully Hopeful has gotten close several times, but never quite over the mark. Until this month, that is. Though November 27 Painfully Hopeful has hit 107 likes. It’s a fantastically small thing, but it’s nice to see that level of engagement.
A character bio
I’ve not been able to do my author’s notes throughout November, which I have missed. There just hasn’t been enough time! But I wanted to give some insight into the nature of a character who has recently shown up, Senator Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn is a woman who creates a great deal of friction in her social circles. She didn’t grow up in the cradle of The Valley’s civilization. Rather, she was born and raised in one of the poor homesteads carving a living out of the jungle’s surrounding Water Gap. At a young age she was brought to a healer to treat a nasty cough, and it was then Kaitlyn’s pathfinding abilities were discovered.
The moment her abilities were unveiled, her life changed. She was adopted into a prominent, but kind, Water Gap family and apprenticed to her predecessor in order to learn the ways of politics in The Valleys. She grew, was educated, and showed herself to be exceptionally bright. Several years after she began her new life, her biological family was discovered dead – fallen to a cough similar to the one which led her to Water Gap years before.
She has never gotten over this loss, nor has she forgiven the elites of the Inner Valleys for their selfish neglect of those who are daring to carve out a life for themselves in the outer settlements. When she finally took on her roll as full senator, Kaitlyn quickly became a leader in the outer settlement coalition and pushed for greater support and resources to be given to the homesteaders. This included pushing The Boulevard all the way out to Plantation, paving the way for it to become a regional economic engine. Her efforts have not made her many friends in the Inner Valleys.
Kaitlyn does not like Walter. She seems him, incorrectly, as privileged Inner Valley snob trying to work out his guilt. She does, however, see him as a useful ally – this is what led her to seek him out in Riverside. Walter, however, admires Kaitlyn deeply. He sees her as an example of what The Valleys could become. It makes for an interesting relationship.