As midnight draws near here in China, and NaNoWriMo draws to a close, I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be able to post a “Winner” badge on my site and proclaim my completion of 50,000 words. My competitive spirit was running very high this month.
In the end, the best I can do is this, and as a consolation, I’ve reached the word-count goal for the genre of fiction I was writing: a middle-grade novel:
Click here to read Chapter One of Truth and the Tepawani, the novel I completed, thanks to NaNoWriMo.
But make no mistake, I am extremely proud of what I accomplished this month. I have no regrets whatsoever. I learned more than I could have imagined.
- I don’t have to wait for the “perfect moment” or a “writing morning” to find time to write. I have to make those moments happen, and they are far more plentiful than I thought prior to this month.
- I am capable of much more than I thought. Don’t laugh–and please understand that I was at a different stage in my life–I had a baby, a couple of busy toddlers, and a move to China during the writing of my last novel, but all told, it was seven years from first word to last. What I’ve written in the last month may not be publication-ready, but it isn’t trash, either. Some of it is pretty good. And I did it in a month. Wow.
- An iPod is an excellent tool for shutting out distractions.
- I can write 5,000 words in a day, if I’m determined enough to make it happen. One day I did just that and more.
- During the second last week, when I considered giving up (the second time), I received an email in my inbox from Holly Lisle. I receive her regular newsletter. She talked about using a timer and ten-minute increments to motivate a higher word count. She uses her timer for two-hour total writing days and produces 3,600 words a day. I reasoned that I wouldn’t be able to dedicate two solid hours, but I could grab 10 minutes here and there, and possibly aim for the same results. She talked about the kinds of plot twists that could emerge when you just wrote for all you were worth and allowed your “muse” to take over. And guess what? It happened! Twice at least, some incredible plot twists emerged that I didn’t expect, even as I wrote them!
- Finally, balance is important too. In the last few days, I considered pushing for four solid days and writing 5,000 words per day to finish so I could display that “Winner” button. To say I did it. But bleary-eyed late one night, fighting sniffles, I realized that my pride would have to suffer for the health of my body and my family life.
Someone asked me today if I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo again. My answer? Maybe. I learned so much, and I enjoyed the thrill of dedicating so much time to what I love to do. It was fun because I’m writing a middle-grade novel and my kids were very much interested in the story. I’m definitely grateful to my very supportive family for putting up with me during the last month!
But I plunged in last-minute without accumulating a lot of writing buddies to keep pace with and the person who nudged me toward diving in gave up around 2,000 words. I would consider doing it again if I had other friends to participate with me. What do you say? Will you join me next year?