First, I have just one thing to say:

Oh, and that would actually be 55,981 words, in my case.  Just saying.

Whew!  Wasn’t sure I’d make it.  And, in truth, I really shouldn’t have.  I did most of the writing in the last week … which, if you weren’t sure, is INSANE!  I’m pretty happy with my success this year, however.  It’s the first year I’ve ‘won’ since 2004.  So that feels good.

Now, did I write something I could get excited about, something I would ever show another living soul?  What do you think?  But it doesn’t matter.  For me, that’s not the point.  The first year I did this, the thing I loved about it was the ‘just write as much as you can every day’ of it, I loved that it forced me to carve out writing time when I’m often able to beg off the writing because I have so much else to do.  But with NaNoWriMo, you just have to get your pen on the paper and quit the whining.  It’s a great practice.

And then I got the surprise perk: after November, I was suddenly writing in a whole new way.  My stories were longer, fuller, filled with dialogue (my characters used to be annoyingly silent practically all the time).  The novel I wrote that first year was pure schlock, but the experience of writing it made a wonderful difference in my ‘real’ writing, showed me that I actually could sustain a story arc for more than a five or six pages.

So another November goes.  Tomorrow I check in with my students to see how they did with the last days of their November writing challenges.  I didn’t have them do NaNoWriMo unless they wanted to (one did!), but they were charged with writing as much as they could about anything they wanted to write about.  I’m happy to see them writing away.  No matter how many pages they’ve filled, all of them have written more than usual by taking on the challenge.  I hope it ‘sticks’ with a few of them!


17 thoughts on “Ahem…

  1. Good for you! That is quite an accomplishment.

    Maybe one of these days (years) I’ll give it a whirl myself. I used to think I wanted to be a writer. (Now I’m not really sure what I want to be.)


    1. Even the years when I couldn’t get it together with 50,000 words by November 30th, NaNoWriMo has been fun. I think everyone should give it a try … no matter what they want to be when they grow up!


  2. Well, congratulations!

    I have lately reconnected, via Facebook, with someone I was friends with when I was eight. She is now a published author and writing teacher, and told me on the phone that she had written three novels by getting up a bit early and writing 500 words per day. (She said that when she got to 500 words, she stopped, even if she was in the middle of a sentence.) I found that quite inspiring.


    1. Thanks, Linda. A writer I worked with in grad school kept telling us that all you needed to do was write two pages (about the same as your friend’s 500 words). Every story, no matter how long, is just putting two pages after two pages after two pages. I always keep that in mind when I’m working. It’s surprisingly helpful!


  3. PSE

    Congratulations! You should be really proud of yourself. I, of course, always knew you could do it. Now, there’s a novel to be published. I’m not too pushy, am I?

    Love you.


  4. molly

    may I add my congratulations! I am impressed.
    Your students are enriched by the assignment and by your good example. You never know what will stick and with whom, and not even when. But you know you make a huge difference. Good for you!
    And good for you for doing something that is also about you, committing yourself to writing.


    1. Thanks, Molly. I’m definitely committed to writing, but I need to remind myself of that every once in a while. I hope my students had as much fun with their challenges as I’ve had with mine!


    1. Thanks!

      It’s a really great (mind-blowing, crazy-making, totally insane) challenge, and I’ve had fun doing it each of the last seven years (even though I haven’t hit the 50K mark every year).


  5. molly

    did not notice your mom until Linda said so. Hello from me, too, GG’s mom! I also like the nickname form GG. How about you, do you like GG?


  6. Yes, that’s my lovely mother up there. I think this is her first comment on my blog, though not her first time reading. I was pleasantly surprised to see her here!

    As for “GG” … I’m so not a “Gigi” of any kind, but somehow I like the way it sounds. Go figure!


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