Around 9:15 PM on November 28, I crossed the finish line with 50,276 words.
Plowing through to the end of the month, at about ten minutes to midnight on November 30, I reached 66,724 words.
So what does this all mean?
Well, winning just means that you validated with the NaNoWriMo website that you have written 50,000 words by the end of the month. It works on the honor system, so yes, I could have pasted 50,000 words in to the widget from an eBook and validated for a win, but I did not, I wrote them all.
It does not mean that I am done. I still have to finish my novel, which is only a little over halfway done as I write this, though I am certain that I would still be on the first chapter or two if it were not for NaNoWriMo. Especially considering everything going on this month. It was a very tough month.
The evening I won, I shared this on Facebook:
Yes, I am excited because I wasn't sure if I could do it, especially considering what a month it has been.
But, I did not and will not finish the novel itself this month because it grew, a lot, since I started working on the outline last October. So while I have written a piece of fiction that is the minimum length for a novel, I have not actually written a novel yet.
Still, 50,000 words (approximately 144 paperback pages) in 28 days is a pretty decent accomplishment and one that I should be proud of.
Finally, it is kind of lonely. Strange, huh? This is a solitary accomplishment, as it is a solitary art, and while everyone looked up from what they were doing here to say "Good Job," no one else quite felt like dancing around the room shouting, "Hells Yeah!"
Considering what everyone in this room has been through the last few weeks, I didn't feel much like doing that either. Which is kind of a shame.
But when I actually finish the novel? Jumping around the room and yelling?
Honestly, I looked on with envy as many people in the Portland NaNo Facebook Group rolled up to the end of their novels. There was also some fear there, because I was (and am still) not sure if I will be able to finish the novel.
Sure, I know the way to the ending, and I look forward to getting there, but now that November is over, will it drop so far down on my priority list that I never actually get around to the ending? Because of NaNoWriMo, though, those fears are pretty small and weak right now, but they are still there.
And then, all the editing and rewriting.
I busted my ass to get to where I am with this book now, and I am no where near done with it. There are months of work ahead, maybe years.
To be honest, over the weekend this started psyching me out a little. I spent almost every waking free moment I had in November working on this project. I read nothing, I watched almost nothing, I took few pictures and edited even fewer…
This weekend, it really sunk in. I cruised ahead to a word count of 74,848 by last night, but it was a full day’s work both on Saturday and Sunday to continue that progress.
Unfortunately, after November, what I probably needed more than an expanded word count was a couple days of real rest, and I did not get it.
So this is an important week for me. I need to figure out what role this novel will take in my life as I move ahead from here.
I put the work in over the weekend because I wanted to make sure that I continued after November 30 and I wanted to get to a certain point in the novel where I felt like the end was closer than the beginning, and both of those things are going to be critical if I ever hope to finish this thing.
However, I cannot necessarily continue through December like I did through November, I need to slow down a bit. Or do I? Maybe I should just continue as if it were still November and pound through to the end?
But that may mean setting aside some photography projects that I really want to accomplish by the end of 2012. Also, I have a lot of hard work ahead over the next couple months helping my mother through a lot of difficult life transitions.
Of course, as I wrote yesterday on Facebook, this month, December, is supposed to be about hard work, and if I really dial it in, I am sure that I can accomplish many of these goals. Maybe not ending December with a finished first draft, but being pretty close.
And the photography projects are not huge ones. Of course, One Day On Earth: 12.12.12 could be a huge project, but my participation is scalable, and being in a relatively unfamiliar part of the country, I may need to scale it down anyway.
I do not need to figure all of this out at once. Writing this is merely a piece of that process for me. A lot of it will be determined for me by life events beyond my control, as well.
That all being said, it was one hell of an experience. While this is the 3rd novel I’ve started, it is now, by far, the most complete one I’ve written and NaNoWriMo was definitely responsible for that, and for getting me over all the humps and though to the point where I know this is a valid project worth dedicating significant time to and worth seeing through to the end.
Personally, I think the final result, a couple drafts down the line, will be pretty solid and worth taking to the next step, trying to get it published. Of course, no one, including myself, has read it yet, but I do know what I have written was interesting enough to keep me parked at my keyboard through some long hours last month, so it feels like it is off to a very good start.
I will be writing one more post about this year’s NaNoWriMo, maybe later today, maybe tomorrow, and then that will be it for the 2012 event for me. Work on the novel will continue, but I will spare everyone my daily Facebook updates and my semi-regular check ins here.
The time I’ve been taking to write those words and to post those posts will be spent elsewhere, working on some other interesting things.
I would like to finish by the end of 2012, but it is not my most important priority for December.
Instead, I will be trying to stay focused on writing a little every day, most days, and I’ll be setting smaller, short term goals that, hopefully, sooner rather than later, will carry me through to “The End.”
1. Your mission is to finish your NaNoWriMo novel or any other unfinished novel from 2012.
2. The official goal is 30,000 words and writing 'the end' on your manuscript.
3. If your novel needs less than 30,000 words (or more!), you can also set your own personal goal. The most important thing is reaching the end.
4. All word-counting is based on the honour system, so when you report your total just tell us what your own word-processor is telling you.
5. Be nice. This is a friendly, all-ages site. No swearing, mature content or aggressive behaviour will be tolerated.
6. No, there won't be Personal Progress Threads. Instead, we have daily reporting. You can check the 2011 archive to see what this looks like.