November has ended, and with it, NaNoWriMo. 30 days of writing madness has come to an end, and I am proud to say that I cam out alive, in one piece, and a winner. It was extremely difficult at times – especially as Thanksgiving brought house-cleaning, decorating, lots and lots of cooking, and family guests down upon my house. There were some days that I found myself unable to write a single word. But there were also a few days where I could sit down and write 7,000 words in one mad dash. And in the end, I won.
The goal was 50,000 words. I ended the month with 71,809 words and 14 and a half chapters, far exceeding my expectations. I have never written so much in such a concentrated span of time in my entire life. It was pretty darn awesome, let me tell you. I didn’t finish the novel I started: my story ideas always end up very complex and long, but I made a huge amount of progress.
I learned quite a few things in the course of the past month. Here are a few of them in no particular order:
— Somehow the dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, and the cooking still get done, even though you spent most of the day staring at a computer screen.
— However, staring at a computer screen all day does not necessarily constitute a productive day, either.
— Mothers can be very supportive when they try, even if they don’t entirely get it.
— Meeting other NaNo-nuts/writers for “write-ins” i.e., coffee and gabbing (and supposedly writing), is a whole heck of a lot of fun, but not much in-group writing actually gets done.
— On a related note: the broccoli-cheddar soup and the free coffee refills at Panera Bread are a god-send.
— Sometimes, when you’re stuck, the best thing to do is just end the bloody scene and start a new chapter with a clean slate – even if the previous chapter is only one page long.
— Dragging a chair into the backyard to write for awhile might be the only time you get out of the house for days on end, but that’s okay.
— Butts bruise when you sit in hard wooden chairs for eight to ten hours a day, for seven or eight days in a row. But (hehe), sometimes that’s better than sitting in bed and risking falling asleep mid-sentence.
— Verifying your word count on that last day is an exhilarating experience, and there is no reason at all why you can’t keep going long after November ends.
All in all, it was a fun, illuminating experience, and one I fully intend to repeat. Next Fall I will hopefully be working on my PhD, and no doubt my schedule will be very full. But I hope I can still squeeze NaNoWriMo in to the schedule. And even if I end up too busy to reach the 50k word goal next year, I think the experience will be worth it no matter how far I get.
For those who are interested, here, again, is the website for NaNoWriMo: http://www.nanowrimo.org
And here is my profile page on the site, where you can read an short summary of the novel I wrote/am writing, and an excerpt from the first chapter: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/692128
Now that the month is over, I have to get cracking on finishing my PhD applications. No doubt you will hear some whining on that subject soon. In the meantime, farewell.