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!