Every National Novel Writing Month is hard work, but this one has turned out to be more difficult than most. Basically, I was being kept busy with various other things, and while I could technically find time to write, finding the mental energy was tougher. Over the first weekend in November, I would sit down at the computer and try to write, but felt like I was running into a brick wall; the words just would not come. I decided not to give up, and trust that it would get better – sure enough, when real life calmed down a bit, I got back into the groove and managed to keep my word count on target. But then other commitments arose that demanded my focus. For four days, I put NaNoWriMo entirely on the back-burner so I could put my attention where it was needed – plus I didn’t think I’d be able to write anyway, certainly not well.
This put me behind, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it up. Possibly due to spending most of this year learning what is really important in life, I decided that if I ended up not writing 50K in November this year, I would be able to live with it. Then, when I was once again in a good mental place, I got in a good daily quota (i.e. 1,667 words) of writing, and finishing did still seem possible. If I wrote a total of 10,000 words over the last weekend, I could make up for the time I missed and be on track to finish on the 30th. The way I saw it, if the goal was technically possible, I should go for it.
So I did. In fact, I ended up doing enough extra words each day over the last working week to mean that 10,000 words at the weekend would see me reach 50K a day early – so why not? This afternoon, I crossed the line, and it felt well-earned and extra special.
As for the story itself, it was an interesting learning experience. I’d wanted to indulge myself by bringing back some old characters from previous instalments, but sometimes found myself unsure what to do with them. One new character, the protagonist’s young daughter, was especially fun to write. The plot was rather more intricate than a lot of my earlier projects and there were many points where what was supposed to happen didn’t feel right – so I would get out a notebook and break it down into bullet points, and usually inspiration would come along and turn the sticking point into something I could work with. As with most of my NaNoWriMos, I ended up skipping back and forth between scenes whenever I had a good idea or just felt like writing something in particular – so even though I reached 50,000 words by writing the epilogue and ‘The End’, there are still a lot of gaps to fill in.
So, after that November, I’m definitely ready for the holidays!
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This year is heavy on challenges. I am glad you managed to win. While I didn’t hit the 50k target, I still consider this year a win. Congratulations, R.J.
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Thank you, and well done with all the writing you’ve accomplished in the face of your own challenges.
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