The Bittersweet End of NaNoWriMo
When I set out to participate in this year's National Novel Writing Month I set a personal goal of 75,000 words, 25,000 more than the minimum total required to win.
I knew it was ambitious, but I had participated a few times before, and wrote on a much more regular basis in the months preceding the challenge, and I thought that with a little extra work I could come closer to actually finishing a book than the half a book I usually had once I achieved 50,000 words. I even purchased special gifts that I could only enjoy if I met my goal.
As usual November became a force of its own, the usual family birthdays and holiday events were joined by surprise trips and home maintenance. Not to mention the complicated grief that has permeated most days post-election.
But I did at least win with just over 50,000 words, now I just need to finish the story.
My characters still have mistakes to make and discoveries to uncover.
I still need to work on research and fleshing out weak ideas that could grow strong with a little more nurturing.
As for the gifts I promised myself for meeting 75,000 words, I won't be getting them today, but they're still waiting to be enjoyed when I DO hit 75,000, a promise to myself and my work.
I am relieved to be done, and sorry that it's over.
I'm looking forward to enjoying day-long book binges of wonderful fiction, a genre I mostly avoided while trying to write my own tale.
I'm looking forward to days when my characters have exciting things to show me and I write thousands of new words in a day. And I am looking forward to days when I do not.
There is little balance to the crazy run that is NaNoWriMo, it's an all-in experience that's hard to sustain. But it's a hell of a ride, and I love doing it every year.
This year, I have something good, and 30 days of work laid a hell of a foundation for the work yet to come. But the work from here on out will not come with the same frenetic pace of November. It will have a better balance. And by the end, something worth publishing.