NaNoWriMo in Retrospect

2010 was my fifth year participating in NaNoWriMo. The first year, I won. The second and third years, I fell far short. The fourth year, I won again. I'm kind of superstitious, I guess, because it felt like a pattern was coming on, and I thought I was for sure not going to be able to win this year since I won last year.

This seemed especially likely given the fact that I am having some major challenges in my personal life right now.

Still, I decided to give it my best shot. I started off the month with a bang, writing 8500 words the first weekend of November at a writer's retreat in Park City. After that, though, life got intensely busy and hard, and I only wrote a few thousand the next week.

Then, when the 15th of the month rolled around and I had only written 12,000 words, I started to panic just a little bit. Now I would have to write 38,000 words in 15 days. By the 20th, I still had 30,000 to go, and by the end of the 25th, I was just barely past halfway done at 27,000 words.

I thought I was panicking before? Yeah, you don't know panic until you only have 5 days left and you have to still write 23,000 words.

I thought about giving up.

I thought about just saying, you know, I gave it a good try, and at least I've written 27,000 more words than I would have if I hadn't been doing NaNo.

In the end, though, I decided not to say any of that. I decided to say I was going to write those 23,000 words, and I was going to do it by the end of November. Come rain or sleet or blizzard or sun or piles and piles of dirty dishes, I was going to finish.

And I did it. I won. I climbed Mt. NaNo and stood at the peak and raised my arms high and shouted to the world, "I did it! I won despite incredible odds! I am Novelist, hear me roar!"

The book isn't finished to The End, and I'm going to keep pushing through December to finish the first draft. And even what is "finished" is far from being Finished. I don't even know if the story is taking the direction I wanted it to take. I don't know if any of the scenes are any good. I'm thinking of scrapping several characters' names because I've grown to hate them this past month.

Still, I did what I set out to do, and it feels amazing.