NaNoWriMo 2013: The Journey of 50,000 Words

I did it. I wrote a 50,000 word novel in less than 30 days.

After attempting NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2012 and failing, I wasn’t hoping for much better this year. But excuses are lethal, so I banished them from my mind. From now until the last day of the month, I will write everyday, I told myself on the first of November. And I did. Some days were terrible – coming home exhausted from school and hours of homework later, the last thing I wanted to do was rack my brain for the right words. On those days, my writing was less than adequate, and I had strong desires to press the backspace key and watch those hideous words disappear from the screen. Delete and start over again. But I knew I had already lost control of my story about five chapters in.

That turned out to be a good thing. I’m the kind of writer who can spend hours on one page, perfecting it down to the smallest details. The elusive adjective that seems just out of grasp will be mine. But NaNoWriMo doesn’t operate with that kind of writing pace. In November, I had to toss out all my preconceived notions about writing to compete in the race against time. Don’t like that line of dialogue? Improvise and move on. Using that verb way too often in one section? Come back and change it after you’ve finished your novel.

I found out that quality and quantity are not exclusive. There were also days when I pounded out words at the speed of light, producing a chapter in the time it usually took me to write one paragraph. The sentences flowed smoothly, the characters came alive, and I wanted to keep going to see where the story would take me next, perpetuated by the continuous clacking of my fingers on the keyboard. Sure, these moments only accounted for about 10% of the time I spent on my novel-writing spree, but they were moments that I most likely wouldn’t have experienced if I hadn’t trudged through that other 90%.

It is now December and my novel is nowhere near its finished state. But I’m more than okay with that – I haven’t spent enough time with this new world of mine yet.


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