Now that it’s December 1, I feel like I can freely confess this: I blew off NaNoWriMo this year.
I’ve written a “novel” (I use the term loosely) every year since 2004. Some are better than others; none are great. I’ve always been ok with that. I know that I’m not a novelist, but after yet another year of people saying, “Oh, you’re a writer? Have I seen your stuff at Barnes & Noble?” I feel compelled to actually try to be that kind of writer, even if it’s only for a 30-day stretch that reminds me why I limit my creative writing skills to product marketing.
For all of its flaws on the quality end of the spectrum, NaNoWriMo is great for solving the butt-in-chair problem. At the end of 30 days, it’s nice to have 50,000 words of editable fiction as opposed to most months which end with nothing to edit. And if I can be honest, I love the competition with myself. Can my word count hit the 10,000 mark earlier than last year? How early in the month can I hit the 50,000-word target?
This year, I started on a story that had a bit of a “based on a true story” theme to it. After all, writers are supposed to write what they know, and there was a lot in here that I knew. One of the central characters was based on my childhood best friend, someone who passed away a few years ago. Suddenly, the writing was hard. I only wrote a few hundred words a day, instead of the 1,667 that I was supposed to be writing, and I committed the NaNo sin of editing myself as I wrote.
Now 31 days later, I’m about 46,000 words short of my goal. But much to my surprise, they’re pretty good words. No, my word count graph isn’t showing the magical crossover into Winner territory, but I’m pretty sure that blowing off the deadline was a good thing.