Monday, December 19, 2011

NaNoWriMo: The Aftermath

November was pretty crazy, as you can tell by the fact that we're more than halfway through December before I got around to posting this. I barely had time to see Brianna on a regular basis, let alone anyone else. It was a long slog, and there were more than a few points where I felt like giving up. Most of these moments occurred in the second week, though when I logged in the day after Black Friday and saw the 5,000-word deficit in my word count... well, that was the bleakest moment of my November, let me tell you.

But, against all reason and my own inclination, I persisted. I smashed my own maximum daily output records on two consecutive days. On the November 25th, I more than doubled the largest number of words I'd ever written in a single day. The next day I surpassed even my own newly-set record, and this time without the help of pre-written material in my notebook that I could simply transcribe.

I think that this remarkable increase in productivity would not have been possible without a marvelous pep-talk from Brandon Sanderson. All the other pep-talks this month were by professional writers, but Sanderson I knew by name. He's finishing the Wheel of Time books after the untimely death of their author, Robert Jordan. In his pep talk, Sanderson confided in us that even he, a professional and fairly successful writer, had never completed an attempt at NaNoWriMo, despite doing it for many years. Perversely, it was the knowledge that it would be okay to fall short, and that I would be in good company if I did, that gave me the strength to pull ahead and cross the finish line.

The last days were full of anticipation, and eagerness to regain the alluring jewel known as "Having Free-Time." After a month, its absence was sorely missed from my life.

I at about 10pm EST on November 30th, the final day of NaNoWriMo. My reward was small: an eight-second video of congratulations from the Office of Letters and Light staff, and a full-color printout certificate of victory. I did a little booty-shaking victory dance for Brianna's amusement, printed out two copies of my certificate (one for home and one for work), and promptly went to bed.

The next day, I posted online that I'd won. A few people congratulated me, but otherwise, life went on much as it had before (and during) NaNoWriMo.

Except it wasn't the same. I had become that rarest of rare birds: the Novelist. I had completed NaNoWriMo once before, in 2007, but the draft was utter crap, and it never went anywhere. This year's attempt was different. I wasn't just writing for the sake of overcoming a challenge or winning a wager with myself: I had a story to tell, a story that I believed in, a story that I needed to tell, no matter the cost.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for finishing! I think I talked to you before that, but I wasn't sure what the outcome was. That's a huge accomplishment; congratulations!