From Where I Sit – A Walk in the Park

As I write this on Saturday afternoon, I am 1,110 words away from completing my first-ever National Novel Writing Month challenge. I wrote just shy of 2,500 words today. I’ve averaged over 1,800 words per day, which is above the 1,667 needed to finish in the full 30 days. I will over-write just to be sure there is no glitch with the NaNo word counter versus my own—I’m not “losing” this high-stakes game now because of a technicality!

For a long time it looked as though I could be done by the 23rd, then a few poorer output days pushed it to the 24th. Now I’ll be grateful to finish on the 27th. My best output was day one, with 3,792 words; my worst, day nine (only 284 words!).

But numbers aside, what has this experience meant? Here’s what I know today:

  • I am most proud of the fact I wrote every single day. Now there is no denying that it is possible for me.
  • I learned I was freshest and that the writing came easiest earlier in the day. When I couldn’t get to the computer until evening, the writing was forced, and clunkier than usual. I was pooped, and it showed.
  • That said, writing 284 clunky words every single day is better than sitting on my hands imagining I’m a writer and waiting for ideal conditions.
  • It took a leap of faith to simply write—and not constantly edit. The minimal planning I did in late October shows. There isn’t enough compelling action in this book, but that’s okay. It’s just the first draft. Someone once said that the only thing you can’t fix is a blank page, and I’m counting on that. I’ll have a helluva great start: 50,000-plus words. They simply can’t be all bad.
  • The NaNo team pep talks and videos were great. Because of geography I couldn’t take advantage of any of the Edmonton write-ins, but did fine keeping myself going. The stat counter was my daily reward.
  • I donated to the NaNoWriMo cause because I needed the good karma. It was a small price to pay for the experience and lasting benefits to me as a writer and a person. The bragging rights alone are worth it.
  • There is NO downside to this experience whatsoever. For those who don’t finish, every word written is just that: a word written.
  • Kudos to those brave souls attempting this with a full-time job or children.
  • My tweeting and blogging suffered all month, and I’ve got serious catch-up to do in reading my RSS feeds.
  • During November I still managed to attend a conference, help facilitate a meeting for 50, visit my family, attend the local fireman’s ball, keep appointments, and start a part-time job. Ah, real life.

After all that, getting 500 words written for you, dear reader, is a walk in the park, from where I sit.