So here we are, on the final day of NaNoWriMo, and clutching our total word counts in delight or not, pride or not, amazement or not.
NaNoWriMo, how do I thank thee? Let me count the ways…
- Without you, I would not have written my story without the push to achieve the word count. It has been sitting on my computer in embryo for months.
- Without you, I would not have read so many great blogs without the immersion in the process. I loved discovering all those great bloggers and learning from them.
- Without you, I would not have considered that I dare call myself a writer. I learned that being a writer is about what I do, not what other people say.
- Without you, I would not have discovered that the difficulties I faced were normal and surmountable. If other writers face them and have ways of dealing with them, then I can too, and it doesn’t mean I can’t write.
- Without you, I would not have found help in thinking about structure and form and all those things that turn a good idea into an actual novel.
- Without you, I would not have discovered that I can write a novel, and actually I can’t write short stories (at least, not yet).
- Without you, I would not also have rediscovered the pleasure I take in blogging. I may not continue an almost daily blog, in the interests of humanity, but I know I genuinely want to do it more often than in the past.
- Without you, Sigoth may never have plotted his own novel. OK, he’s still not actually writing – but maybe by next year.
- Without you, I would not have learned that, for me, writing is an important tool for my own mental well-being. I feel happier and calmer by writing regularly.
- Without you, I would not have had the nerve to finish a list of things at less than ten. Oh, wait…
I can be all cheery because I reached the word count. I’ll let you into a secret though. I don’t like to fail targets – it’s why I like project management. I accepted the deadline because I was already confident I had a full novel to write, and I already knew I could produce volumes of words from having written a dissertation. I do SMART.
In a moment of characteristically indulgent self-reflection: did I take a goal that I was confident would be easy (low expectation and low challenge) or did I avoid setting myself up to fail (managed expectation with genuine challenge)? I have never done NaNoWriMo in previous years, but this year I had a story clearly in my head and over 10k already written. My novel is well over 60k now.
If I look at myself from the outside, as best I can, I am amused to notice I am already playing down the fact I did write a lot of words. I am giving reasons for why it was no big deal, why it wasn’t special. Well, I am British, after all.
It has taken me a number of years to reach this target, not just 30 days. So I will give myself a small pat on the back, and move on. Well done for persistence, EBL, you old tortoise, you.
I had to write this story. It simply would not fit inside my head any more. Whether anyone else ever reads it is less important; it isn’t going to bring about peace in the Middle East or feed the starving. It is now birthed. As any parent knows, the next bit is harder still. Potty training might be tricky. To be honest, I am dreading the teenage years already.
Whatever writing you have done this month, I hope you are happy if you have written at all, or that you have enjoyed reading what others have written. I have managed both for this short while, and I am grateful. Now I plan to continue at a reduced rate, and catch up on my knitting as well.