Recap: I did NaNoWriMo unofficially this year. Why not go official and get the cool certificate? Because rules. You can’t have any prose written before November 1st, and I’ve got a massive outline chock full of prose. So, I can’t be all officially official. Instead, I set a goal to write 50,000 words in November for the draft of my current work in progress.
And I’m so glad I did.
November is always a crazy month for my family. We have three birthdays, two of which require travel of 1-3 hours (one way). Plus, there’s Thanksgiving, which requires hours of travel and/or significant planning. This year also included the bonus of a ridiculous election cycle that had my Facebook feed blowing up non-stop with family and friends sounding off on just about everything.
I’m exhausted just writing that.
So why would I subject myself to an intense word count goal during the craziest month of the year? I honestly can’t think of a better time to do it! Committing to write close to 2,000 words per day, every day, forced me to prioritize my writing during a time when I was most likely to make excuses.
It also forced me to stop revising as I write.
That’s a really big deal. I have a habit of getting so bogged down in perfecting the first three chapters that I never get any of the other chapters written. After all of that work, one of those first three chapters inevitably needs to be cut, and I sink down into Ecclesiastes-level despair.
Meaningless, meaningless! Everything is meaningless (1).
Woe is me.
You get the idea. Going with the Ecclesiastes theme, there truly is a time for everything: A time to be born and a time to die… a time to tear down and a time to build… a time to keep and a time to throw away (2). A draft is a time for something to be born.
A time to keep.
A time to build.
You can tear down, throw away, and let things die later. What’s great about NaNoWriMo is that you’re given the circumstances and community support to do what needs to be done with any first draft:
Just get the blasted thing written.
I hit 50,000 words on November 25th. Even though I was only 70% of the way through writing my book, and even though my NaNoWriMo work was unofficial, it was an amazing feeling.
I met my goal.
I did it!
In the days since I hit my goal, I’m still riding high on what I gained during NaNoWriMo. I’m in the habit of writing every day. I know I can push through tough days when it seems like every well of creativity has gone bone dry. I know I can find time to write even when life gets crazy.
Would I do NaNoWriMo in the future?
In a heartbeat.
(1) Ecclesiastes 1:2
(2) Ecclesiastes 1:1, 3, 6