Now that it’s December, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is officially over. I actually participated for the first time this year, after a decade or so of promoting it to other writers and cheering them on. This isn’t quite as hypocritical as it might appear, because I’ve always written short stuff – poetry, flash fiction, reviews, articles, press releases – not novels, which are by definition somewhat long. I’ve never so much as had an idea for a book, let alone a novel. But this year I decided I had nothing to lose and might even discover that I really am a novelist, so I signed up on the web site, in the sight of God and everyone. I came up with a premise and some characters that I thought were interesting and started writing.
As the dust settles and I reflect on what I accomplished, I’ve decided to call my experience NaNoWriWee (National Novel Writing Week) because that’s about how long I was able to keep up with it. I didn’t actually get pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) until November 5, and my last contribution was on November 12. During those several days, I was pretty diligent about writing something every day, though nothing near the 1,700-word daily average required to reach the target goal of 50,000 words. In fact, my final word count was just shy of 3,000. Pitiful though this may seem, it’s quite an accomplishment for me: it’s the longest bit of creative writing I’ve ever done (if you don’t count papers in school, that is.)
Here’s what I took away from NaNoWriWee:
- Even though I didn’t spend nearly enough time writing my story, I did spend a lot of time thinking about it. And I enjoyed both the writing and the thinking.
- I’m obviously not very good at lengthy narrative, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t get better with practice. And I think I’d like some more practice.
- If I got that much done in haphazard moments stolen from my batsh*t crazy life, how much more I could get done if I actually spent a week away from that life, writing?
Okay, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I didn’t have much in the way of expectations, so I’m thrilled. And I’m already making plans for next year’s NaNoWriWee.