Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How I Both Won and Lost NaNoWriMo

I wrote 62,700 words from November 1 to November 30, 2013. I wrote almost every day, save Sundays, whether it was just a couple dozen words or a few thousand. I started at the beginning and worked my way through.

And still I lost.

But I won at the same time.

First I want to explain the way I lost. You see, I actually set a goal to write *2* books in November for a total of 100,000 words. I set up an alter ego on the NaNoWriMo site and uploaded that book’s progress separately from the book I worked on under my own name.

I failed. I didn’t make it. I didn’t even finish either book. During the month I switched from one to the other as the mood struck. Both stories deal with difficult topics but are otherwise nothing alike. Yet as long as I wrote consistently I was able to keep each story straight and it was awesome. Those first two weeks I burned through the pages.

Then I started slacking off. Doctor appointments for the kids, calls from the school to bring medications or whatnot, pretty much anything started interfering with my writing time. But the plan I had was solid. I could still catch up. I could still make my goal.

Until I just couldn’t anymore. So I still have two rough drafts to finish and it’s December. I had other plans for December, not the least of which was publishing my little Christmas short story and offering my books for sale for the holidays.

Now I’m going to tell you how I won. I wrote 62,700 words in November. That’s a personal best. I’ve never written that much in a single 30 day period. Never. I’ve hardly written anything since my husband went up north in August for work. I mean, a few thousand words maybe in 3 months but nothing to write (ooh, punny) home about.

But the actual words aren’t why I’m counting the victory. I reopened the vault within, refocused my creative energies, and actually made progress on *3* novels—not just the 2 NaNo books.

And all that great stuff that I plan to unleash on my poor unsuspecting characters is waiting in the wings for me to do just that. And I have 3 weeks before the kids get out of school. That’s 7 hours a day x 5 days a week x 3 weeks = 105 hours that are just mine. Sure, kids will get sick or injured, or forget something and responding to it will throw off my groove. My husband is expected home during that time and yeah, that’s going to mean less writing time.

But just think of what I can accomplish with even 80 hours. I’m going to continue the process that I started in November. I’m going to complete those novels.

And then I’ll look at them in January and probably red pen a couple hundred pages. But at least I’ll have something to edit, right?