NaNoWriMo: A Month in Review

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My month of writing has come to an end with me reaching 50,010 words. The last day I was surprised by how much tension left my shoulders as I typed those last words, putting me over the goal-line. I know it sounds kind of strange to feel so much stress about something I was doing to myself but nonetheless, November was full of it for me.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge where you attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Sounds simple enough, until you throw in your job, chores, and life. ‘Hey want to watch the game on Friday?’ ‘No, I have to write.’ ‘Want to go to the movies?’ ‘No, I have to write.’ ‘Maybe you should shower…’ ‘No, I have to write.’

There were two days where I wrote zero words, and when doing something like this, they each felt like huge holes I wouldn’t be able to dig myself out of. All in all I think there were four or five days I didn’t reach my goal of 1,667 words.

My goal at the start of the month was to just pace myself. There were many nights where I was in the zone, and the words came faster and smoother than others, but when I hit that 2000 word mark, I stopped and saved it for the next day. My thoughts were that I didn’t want to burn out. I think the strategy worked for me well, and if I ever do it again, I will try to follow suit. Then there were the nights I would plunk myself down in the office after a long day at work, and stare at the screen in my dark office, wishing I was just watching TV by the fireplace.

I focussed almost all my energy on the book I’m writing. Two thousands went to a cool project I’m working on, just over three thousand went to a short story, and the rest were on my book, which now sits at around 57,000 words.

One thing I noticed were the mood swings about the actual story. One day I would love what was happening, the next I would be riddled with thoughts of inadequacy. After the month is over and I think back to what I’ve actually written I have mixed feelings. I am excited to finish the book, let it sit a couple weeks, then go back to it for the next step, but I also wonder if this is something I will ever share with another human. Only time will tell, but the fact that I did this challenge, just proves that I am taking the craft seriously and I can do it.

It has spurned me on to finish the Sleepy Grove novel I started, and I also have another idea for a book that is begging to get down. So I have opened the floodgates, and good luck stopping me from getting them all down.

So contrary to the ups and downs that are NaNoWriMo, I finished, and will remember this forever I’m sure. Now to finish the book’s first draft and check that off my list.

Congrats to anyone who has done this or attempted it, and remember that any progress you made is good progress, so hold your heads up high.

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