Winning NaNoWriMo, sort of

Last year – 2014 – I jumped into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) pool for the first time, and promptly pulled myself out after a serious cramp.  My favorite aunt had just died from cancer and the grief process was too strong.  Every time I sat down at the desk I was either overwhelmed by tears or paralyzed by the dread Inner Editor.  (It also didn’t help that I was  pretty bruised from a series of employment setbacks.)

Total word count: 3400.

This year I wanted to try again.  While I didn’t have a strong outline for a novel, I did have plenty of rough story drafts and writing prompts clogging up my hard drive.  So I set the goal of finishing/revising 5 short stories so I could fill the hopper on my personal Submission Machine.

I also had a SECRET GOAL.

November came and went, and I wrote.  And edited.  And struggled.  Business as usual.  There were also  mundane reality challenges : short project deadlines at work, my mother celebrated a Significant Birthday,  a house guest, plus the whole Thanksgiving thing.  (Suggestion: can’t we move NaNoWriMo to some dead month, like March?)

Total word count – 19,303 words.  ALMOST 20K.  Not even CLOSE to 50K.

Did I finish 5 stories? Again, ALMOST. I worked on 6 stories, overall. Four are basically finished.  All need revision.

However, I completed my SECRET GOAL.

I wrote EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Not a lot.  Some days it was only a few lines, or perhaps a paragraph.  But I carried my laptop with me everywhere, and found some mental space to be a writer.

It’s hard to admit, but it’s the longest stretch I’ve ever managed. 30 days.

Did I win NaNoWriMo? Yeah, I think I did.  Next year might be even better.

Whatever the outcome, I couldn’t have done it without my tribe.  Thank you.

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