Thursday, December 01, 2011

For the win...

Excuse me folks, but damn! I hit all sorts of mileposts yesterday, that’s why this weekly post is late. Not only did I make it to the 50K National Novel Writing Month deadline I was convinced was unattainable, but I wrote a personal-best 9,800 words in one day and finished the first draft of my WIP. And it’s not rambling, fill-up-the-page lorem ipsum text either, it’s a story that works.


I started November and NaNo with high hopes of reaching this point. Life intervened, as usual. A late autumn head cold, a couple of disturbing family crisis, and while none of them required my physical presence, they certainly took me out of my writing zone for several days. And of course, Thanksgiving (see last week’s post to see what the holidays do to me). My personal Black Friday hit with the realization my NaNo count stood at a paltry 38,500. I needed to write over 4,000 words a day for the next five days to get the win. Not likely.

So I did what I usually do. I found a rational excuse. I gave up on NaNo with the justification that I’d never intended to make the 50K, it was just a jump-start exercise for the stalled WIP and look, hadn’t I added almost 40K to my work? It was fine that I didn’t finish NaNo, really.

Only it wasn’t. My capitulation nagged at me. I went into a two-day funk, wrote nothing Saturday and Sunday and started the week staring at my NaNo spreadsheet (yes, I have one) which told me I needed to produce 5,470 words a day on each of the last three days to hit the mark. My brain told me I couldn’t possibly do it, but now it bothered me. The earlier justification wasn’t enough to overcome my sense of failure.

Then my wonderful, amazing, incredible support crew kicked in (that’s all of you!). Hubby offered food and drink and lots of hugs. Daughter and son gave me long-distance pep-talks via text, chat, and Skype. My fantastic writers group, friends and strangers I’ve collected on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, all urged me to persevere. The NaNo forums introduced me to still more writer types and my circle grew exponentially. And the words started to flow. 3,742 on Monday. 2,885 on Tuesday. And the truly incredible 9,806 on Wednesday, reaching the magic 50K number at 9:46 p.m.

I proved myself wrong, and right. I did manage to complete the NaNo challenge, and while in reality it’s ephemeral, it’s also an internal boost, a kick in the pants. I proved to myself I can maintain a steady 2K word per day output of mostly decent stuff. But I also managed my original goal of jump-starting the WIP. I now have on my hard drive – and flash drive, and external storage drive, and email transfer – a 78,408 word completed first draft of Fatal Error: AYBABTU.

Because I pushed myself (with lots of help) to work through NaNo, my story evolved more consistently, new characters appeared and vanished, some died when I didn’t think they could, the bad guy who maybe wasn’t turned out to be even more so while the clueless puppet had me fooled, sub-plots I never considered before crept in, my MC learned lessons I didn’t know she needed. I’m a confirmed punster; how anyone writes a novel from an outline I’ll never understand.

See how well I justify? Thank you, everyone!


  1. Anonymous9:47 AM

    That is awesome! Congratulations!

  2. Congrats! It's a great feeling, isn't it, finishing that first draft?

    And perhaps I need more spreadsheets in my life.

  3. Thank you both!

    And Bryan, I'd be lost without my spreadsheets... ;-)

  4. I never understood how to begin with. outlines are for those far more organized than me. Glad you did it, knew you could. Goof

  5. And thank you for your support ;-)

  6. Good for you!!! Disjoint that shoulder and pat yourself on the back...right next to mine! :)

  7. Still convincing myself it really happened, DL, but thanks!

  8. Anonymous11:03 AM

    Contrats on your great achievement! I'm a first time Nano winner also, and I was expecting it to be impossible, but I actually did it! With a lot of help from friends and family, of course!


  9. Congratulations, Nancy! #3 NaNo win for me (2005, 2006), but it still brought tears to my eyes ;-)

    What would we do without family and friends cheering us on?

  10. Congratulations! I well know the temptations and procrastination pitfalls and that last minute grind to the finish. Then I kick myself because it's so much easier to do a little everyday. Bask in it, revel in it, then get back to editing ;P


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