Hey there, folks!
I’m going to take these next few weeks to talk about some of the things I’ve learned over the past two years. I’ve gone from a complete novice to…well, still a complete novice, but one who is far less naive (I hope) about the writing experience.
Truth be told, a lot of November 2014 is a blur in my memory. Just for some context, my job is at a 24-hour residential care facility, and I work an average of 50 hours per week. Some of those are overnight hours, so my sleep schedule is totally wacky. I decided I would make time to write 50,000 words in a month.
Not to make light of it, but I wonder if I may have experienced a slight bout of mania.
Fortunately, the first day of NaNoWriMo I had off. I must have gotten up early, and I probably didn’t leave the desktop because I managed to crank out 2,515 words. That was huge, and one thing I can remember is that instead of a feeling of “Phew. Finally done with that annoyance,” it was a feeling of achievement. Yeah, I had a long way to go, but I nearly doubled the daily word count, and it was only my first day!
Over the next few weeks, I had a lot of ups and downs with regards to my word count. The next day was a Sunday, which I typically have off, but I’m out of the house most of the day. I only got 600 words written, but that was okay because the total still put me ahead of the 1,300 or so words per day target.
Most days, if I wrote anything at all, I averaged about 2,000 words. It was tough, in part because I was so unused to it, but personally even more challenging because I self-edit like crazy. I swear I’ve never done a true “first draft” of anything. I had to let the satisfaction of writing be stronger than the desire for it to be perfect, and I suspect that’s the true genius of the exercise. Even if I never NaNo again, that lesson will stick with me, even if I have to remind myself of it from time to time.
Anyway, between all-day home sessions and eeking out a few hundred words on the staff room computer during my overnights, I’m very proud to say that I finished my novel with about an hour to spare. I bought the “Winner!” T-shirt, straightened out my hunched shoulders, and went to bed satisfied. I had done it.
Six months would pass before I touched it again.
But I’ll tell you more about that next week.