Tuesday evening, thousands of people uploaded a file to the NaNoWriMo.org site and declared victory. They managed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. My hat is off to them. What a fantastic accomplishment.
I didn’t make it, but I did learn some things along the way:
- I can write fiction. I’ve always written essays and memoir pieces; I didn’t think I had the imagination to write fiction. And while the biggest plot twist in my novel was Ben’s idea, still, I was able to make up lots of stuff on my own.
- I don’t like writing crap for the sake of writing crap. While I get it that the point of NaNoWriMo is to turn off your internal editor and give yourself permission to write junk, I didn’t care for that part. Which is strange; that’s the part I thought I would love. I came up with most of my good ideas before NaNo officially started, during the outlining process. It was painful to write line after line I could never use.
- I can write a blue streak for two weeks straight. It felt great to make my word count for those first two weeks. And I have a story I can work with over the long term.
- A month is too long to ignore my life — and ignoring sleep is not an option. In the days just before NaNo started, I scrubbed my house and stuffed my fridge full of pre-cooked meals. The house got dirty again in a day or two, and we ate all the food the first week. Weeknights, there is only time to cook, eat, play with Nora and get her to bed. I am loath to trade Nora time for writing. Also, I am incapable of staying up past 8:30pm. Thus, I fell behind on my word count – hopelessly so. C’est la vie.
- I love blogging. While there were lots of little reasons I threw in the towel, blogging was a big part of it. I missed my blog and all of you. I kept coming up with great post ideas (you should see my drafts folder right now!) that I wanted to work on right away.
Yes, I will probably try again next year. But I may plan to take some additional time off that month. My goal for the next few months is to read some of my favorites novels to figure the elements I was missing. For the few months after that, I’ll work on my exisiting draft of about 25,000 words. The writing will not stop.