It’s been eighteen days since I was released from the prison of NaNoWriMo. It has taken eighteen days for me to recover, but finally, I think I have gathered the strength to talk about NaNoWriMo again. My emotional therapist believes it might be time for me to confront the horrors that occurred throughout November. (Kidding)
For the uniformed, NaNoWriMo is a very dangerous experience that only the hardiest and most reckless of writers dare to take on. It’s a deep, dark jungle filled with Stress, Angst, Procrastination, and the rarely spotted species, ‘Good Writing’. During November, from midnight on the first, to midnight on the thirtieth, participants willingly give themselves blisters from typing/handwriting too fast. For adults, the default goal is 50,000, but you can choose to set it higher if you have a lot of money to pay for several trips to the psychiatrist. For young writers, the default goal is 30,000, but you can set your own personal goal, anywhere from about 1k to 204872398479238479238k (there are people who do the latter, I’m sure.)
Actually, NaNo didn’t go too badly. I graduated from the five year old cohort and joined the Real Adults in writing 50k. I hit last years goal of 30k on day 17, hit 50k at 5am on the 30th of November, and finished at 11.59pm with 54,054 words. I had a nine day streak of being at least a day ahead, but then dropped back 4k. The most I wrote in a day was 7k, and the least was 0, but let’s not talk about that. My manuscript isn’t finished, but it’s close. I want to be writing my second draft in February- January is for fixing plot holes up etc.
1k30min challenges were definitely my saviour. My record for one was 1163, but it got to a point where it became so easy that I had to change it to 1k20mins, where instead of having half an hour to write a thousand words, I gave myself twenty minutes. My record for twenty minutes was 1110, and I didn’t fail a single one all November. I also began a new sleep schedule of waking up at 5.30 every morning to get my words in, which I will attempt to continue to get lots of writing time next year. What else happened last month? Apart from the obvious 54,054 words, I there were a lot of word wars, virtual write ins, mental breakdowns, questioning of the meaning of life, and contemplation of *accidentally* tipping a bucket of water on my laptop / having a hand slip and *accidentally* drag the whole file into the trash and then (also *accidentally*) clear said trash. What a great month (and it actually was, despite the sarcasm) Looking back, there wasn’t as much stress as I felt at the time. I never got so far behind that I couldn’t cope, and I never ran out of stuff to write. I liked my story idea, and sometimes I wrote the occasional gem that reminded me why I was sacrificing my circadian rhythm and my social life. I felt like a true daredevil when I TURNED THE BRIGHTNESS DOWN ON MY LAPTOP AND WROTE MY NOVEL DURING CLASS! I can now spend December emotionally healing, and come January, I can crack my knuckles and start attacking this manuscript. And here’s to doing it all again next year.