Well here it is, November 30th, and I couldn’t be happier to be back writing for this little forum of mine. Nor could I be happier that I accomplished what I thought would be an impossible task, that of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. And if I may continue in that vein, I am also happy to be done a day early and not sticking around until the last dog, or word, is hung.
I kept notes as I was writing. The daily word count goal was 1,667 words. Here are the highlights.
Day 1 – Word count hit. Easier than I thought it would be.
Day 4 – No work done but I did see Wreck-It Ralph.
Day 5 – Word count hit but still a day behind.
Day 9 – Still a day behind. Things are getting harder. More time spent staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what’s next. Shaun recommends splitting up that extra day’s worth of words over a week.
Day 12 – Wrote foreshadowed party scene. 99.9% sure this will be completely cut.
Day 14 – Caught up + 300 words ahead. Don’t hate what I’m writing even though it will need severe revision.
Day 19 – May be time to start thinking about the ending to this book, not that I can think of anything else.
Day 24 – If I could simply type 50,000 words without the need to think or plot or take breaks, at my rate of 90 words per minute, it would take me less than 10 hours.
Day 25 – Understanding better what Stephen King meant when he said that the first draft is for the writer, the second is for the reader. I think this is why I’m having such a hard time choosing between first and third person.
Day 27 – Seems less like a first draft, more like a 50,000 word outline.
Day 28 – The NaNo peoples FINALLY posted the Nick Hornby pep talk. Love that man.
I crossed the finish line around 11 p.m. on November 29th. It seems to me, right now, that I have written not so much a novel but a collection of 50,000 vaguely related words. But a few of those words might be salvageable, and in terms of potential plot points, I came up with so much more than I ever would have if I hadn’t been a slave to this insane deadline.
Several of the pep talks that Nano’ers were privileged to read throughout the month focused on the fact that the only way to write is to write, and while I think on some cerebral level I understood that before, now I really, really get it. I mean I really get it. I had to come up with a lot of plot points to keep the story moving and hit my daily word count, and while most of them are crap, a couple are not. I might be able to make something out of nothing after all.
I am so glad I decided to embark upon this little adventure. My biggest disappointment was that in the rush to hit that word count each day, there wasn’t a lot of thoughtful writing. Still, I learned so much and not all of it was writing related. I learned that I can accomplish a lot more than I thought I could with a couple of hours in the evening after the kiddo goes to bed and a lot of focus. I learned that – or maybe just remembered that – toiling away at a creative endeavor really is more rewarding than having a clean kitchen. I now think having a month dedicated to some sort of project may be the best idea ever. I’m already thinking of a hundred things I want to do that could use a monthly deadline. (I think like most of your run-of-the-mill writers and creative types, I’m rubbish without a deadline.) Of course, all those ideas are what cause me to lose focus in the first place… But I have decided, coming off my November writing high, that in December I will publish one blog post per day, dedicated to a song. I’m going to post a song I like with some explanation of its origins to me, and at the end of it there will be a 30 song playlist. I will also be keeping up with my regular posts, the songs posts will just be extra.
I look forward to seeing you all on the flip side!