NaNoWriMo Recap

For those that don't keep track of every aspect of my life (you should, it's really quite fascinating), I participated in this year's NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel (really novella, since it only ends up being about 120 pages) in thirty days. Last night, after a 6 hours write-athon of almost 10,000 words I finished, a day early. 

I am so glad to be done. 

I had mixed feelings about the whole process before I started; I opted out of doing it last year because I wasn't comfortable with the process. With 50,000 words on the docket you basically have to speed through without looking back. So, I decided not to do it. And then a year went by and I write absolutely nothing. Obviously, I this year I had a change of heart. Being the closeted competitor that I am, the challenge-type structure of it was actually ended up being perfect for me. 

Finding the time this month to write was pretty challenging in and of itself, despite the fact that I had a week off. Between being pretty buried at work, trying to get my house ready for Thanksgiving, and still "doing stuff" I was pretty busy. Writing 50,000 words took me somewhere around 40 or so hours, and that's with basically no editing (I am quite confident what awaits me is a shit sandwich- there will be two or three gems buried somewhere inside, hopefully). I know it doesn't sound like that much time, but when you're looking at adding, on average, an hour or two a day to what I already have going it's a big commitment. Keep in mind I don't watch little TV- I had to cut out reading, which hurt my heart to no end. And there were days I didn't write, or wrote very little, which ended up compounding the average I needed to keep. Who knew that writing could end up being such a numbers game. 

I am actually pretty pleased with what I've come up with so far, in terms of general plot, tone, and character creation. Everything has to be developed much, much more, not to mention the fact that the story line needs to be finished. My goal is to have a draft (meaning probably, I'm guessing, another 60,000-70,000) words by the end of the school year. Then I could spend the summer doing rewrites and edits and then take it from there ("take it from there" could mean anything from trying to get an agent to letting it collect e-dust on my hard drive). I have absolutely no-expectations in terms of what would ever happen to the finish product, but I do know I want to finish it completely- I've put in far too much time and work to not. I'll probably ask a few trusted honest (but nice) friends to read it and get their take on whether or not I should move forward.

When people find out that I've done this, they always want to know what it's about, and I'm always really hestitant to talk about it. There are some autobiographical tendencies, but there's also some things that are a little far out there that could maybe be misconstrued out of context (including the main premise for the book). And I am nervous that people may assume that I am the main character; I am not. As I said, there are similarities, like the fact that the girl is a teacher and has to experience the death of her father, but there are so many differences as well. For example, I can assure you that I've never, ever have had sex with a custodian. Nor have I ever considered lying to anyone about their dog dying so that I could keep it. My siblings and I weren't named after geographical locations, and my sister and I never get in screaming matches that end up in violence (well, at least not as adults). And the premise for the plot- well, that's a whole other conversation that just may end up in people thinking I'm ethically challenged (or in need of medication).

I'm glad I did it- NaNoWriMo gave me the push I needed in the right directions. I've needed a challenge and some stimulation lately; this came at the perfect time. But, I do have to admit- I'm ready for some distance from my little project for awhile. There are some things in my life I've been neglecting and look forward to getting back to.


  1. Congrats! The 6-hour 10,000 word sesh sounds hardcore! Did you do a victory dance when you finished? I agree that NaNo provides conditions that make it more motivating to write than just an average day. Sounds like there's a lot more work to be done, but for now, I hope you are just sitting back, enjoying your accomplishment!*