It’s kind of like winning the lottery, except SO MUCH BETTER because I know the win is a direct result of my effort. I have successfully, for the 5th year in a row, written a complete novel in November.
And this time, I plan to edit the first draft, in hopes of coming up with something publishable.
My writing brain has decided to take a brief vacation.
However, I do want to give you some of the highlights of this past November’s Novel Writing Challenge:
- I started typing on November 1, 2013, and wrote every day for the first 5 days. It wasn’t as hard as I expected, to be working on this novel while holding down a full-time job.
- Week two, I got incredibly bored. I was writing about my Peace Corps experience, but it didn’t feel fun and exciting to me. I wished I could inject some new and exciting element into the mix, some element of fiction. Something like… a shovel death! That’s what the others in my writing group were trying to work into their novels. I wanted that creative liberty. But I stuck to the facts, knowing that I wanted my account to be much closer to reality than the standard novel written during this challenge.
- Week three, I got depressed, and my actions started mirroring the Armenian timeline I was writing about—my first winter, where I slept a lot, was cold all the time, and didn’t find a whole lot of joy in life.
- At 48,000 words, which was 2,000 short of the goal for the month, I stumbled upon what my story was really about! Seriously?!? At 48,000 words??? That meant that almost everything I had written thus far was going to be completely worthless for the novel’s true tale… I know that sometimes writing is like clearing your throat, and eventually you get the correct words out, but I was a little overwhelmed to discover that my first 3.5 weeks had been spent merely CLEARING MY THROAT. Fortunately, when the story is polished and edited, it will be a really good story. It just won’t be about me, or my Peace Corps service.
- My final day of writing, November 30, 2013, I wrote over 6,000 words. That put me far over the expected goal line, but I wanted to get my story to a decent stopping-point, and try to wrap up the original story line as best as possible, in order to call the first draft of the novel “finished.” I spent that day in good company, at a “write-in” with other novelists also trying to wrap up their stories. (This was the 5th one I went to over the course of the month.)
- We are having a celebratory party next week to pat each other on the back, and share (optional) a page or two of our November novels with each other. I’m excited; this is the first time I’ll be sharing what I wrote in November, AND the first time I’ll be reading what anyone else has written.
Now I’d like to hear your comments. Have you ever tried to reach a crazy goal like the one I did for NaNoWriMo? Or have you attempted NaNoWriMo yourself? Tell me about it!
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