Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner--Yes, That's Me!

I cannot believe I did it.  I logged in 50,582 words at the NaNoWriMo word count verifier a few minutes ago.  Over 50K words in less than 30 days--yes!  Got my certificate, got the little badge you see here...  And no, didn't get my t-shirt because the site doesn't list Netherlands Antilles as a possibility for billing addresses.  Dang it.

It was a challenge, I admit, but it wasn't nearly as overwhelming as I thought it would be.  Writing 50K words in one month *is* possible.  Sure, I'm lucky because I get to write full-time--no kids, no job, a partner that loves the fact that I write.  I had everything going for me this month.  It really would have been an embarrassment not to finish.  As it is, it's probably an embarrassment that I didn't win earlier, that the word count is *only* 50,582 today.  But I'll take my pride where I can :)

The NaNo novel, as yet untitled, is only half-way.  So--yes, I wrote 50K in one month, but I didn't finish a novel.  Does that take away from the sense of achievement?  Yeah, sure it does.  The goal was 50K--that's what you need to win NaNo.  But that's the letter of the law.  The *spirit* is to finish the damn thing.  Of course, a first draft of a novel, in Guiliespeak, is +100K, so perhaps it is unreasonable to demand of myself that I finish one in 30 days.  I do plan to raise my target next year to at least 75K--that should bring me closer to the end.

What do I have now?  I have about half of a novel's first draft.  Sure--there's going to be a lot of editing in my future, eventually, but first...  First, I need to finish the first draft.  That wonderful feeling of writing "the end" at the last page--how I love that.

So...  Even though I have my NaNo winner certificate and my little badge, and even though I earned a t-shirt that I cannot buy, I'm going to keep writing, keep logging in word count at the NaNo site, until tomorrow night.  See how far I get.  I doubt I can finish the first draft by then, but it'll get me farther.  And even after tomorrow I won't stop.  I'll keep on writing.  And I won't go back to the way I wrote before NaNo--writing, revising, editing, writing some more.  No, no.

The most valuable lessons I garnered from this month, these "thirty days and nights of literary abandon", were these:

  • Write.  Just--write.  Don't worry about revising, not before you put the story down first.  Later there's always time to revise and edit and rewrite.  But the main thing: get the story down first.

  • You are your limitations.  And those limitations are all in your head.  Think you can't, and--voila--you can't.  But raise the bar, aim for the impossible, and--taah-daah!  There it is.  Raise the bar for yourself constantly.  Celebrate the achievement, sure, but--don't let it go to your head.  If you did *this*, whatever it was, it means you can do more.  Quality-wise, quantity-wise.  Whatever.  You can do more.  Always.  Never let yourself forget it.

So...  There you go.  That's the end of my NaNo experience, technically.  In reality, it's the beginning--truly--of my life as a writer.


  1. Good for you! I agree about raising the target. I wrote 60k and I finished the first draft of my novel, but I'd like to have two projects lined up next year. I think I would have done more if I'd been better prepared. Again, congrats!

  2. Congrats! And it sounds like you've learned a lot from the experience. While NaNo's not my thing--I don't care to write that fast and, like you, a draft is usually 120k+ words--learning to just get the first draft out without worrying about revisions is a valuable lesson. It'll make you finish the book sooner in any situation.

  3. Congrats! You are a star! Grab a glass while I pop the bubbly! *makes a toast*


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