It entailed writing 20,000 words in the last week, including the last 7,000 words on Monday November 30th. It was a finish reminiscent of every term paper I ever wrote — barely squeaking under the deadline. I was at my home computer when I did the final upload of the manuscript to the NaNoWriMo website at 10:53pm, but I had acid flashbacks to the days of running a term paper through the snowy streets in college to get it into the professor’s mailbox in some campus building that was always on the top of some very steep hill, dashing in breathless and sweating minutes before the deadline (somehow in this flashback it is always snowing, although I know full well that my procrastination spanned all twelve months of each year…).
So, this time I was home and comfy in my fuzzy bunny slippers, and I uploaded it at 10:53pm, which was over an hour before it was due. Actually, that’s not bad.
Now I emerge from my hermit-like existence, and offer several random thoughts which I shall call Thoughts on Sadistic Writing Goals, Post- NaNoWriMo. For, like childbirth, I doubt that a participant remembers all the details in the middle:
1. Starting December 1st, I will not feel like writing anything for a few days. Not a blog post, not an email, not a grocery list. I also will not feel like answering the phone. Which was mostly OK, because nearly everyone I know will be afraid I did not make it to my 50,000 goal, and are not willing to call me and ask how it went until I come clean on how it all shook out.
2. Do more meal planning in October so that we are not eating frozen waffles for dinner.
3. Once the writing frenzy is over, everything I do type will be riddled with typos because I spent so many hours blazing through with nary a spellcheck.
4. The Kitten Kjorn really does work. And the middle 30,000 words are much harder than the first 10K or the last 10K. So when one gets to that middle part, don’t give up.
5. I will feel a sense of elation at attempting something that seemed impossible, but wasn’t.
So, 50,000 words. Way to go. High fives all around. What next?
Good question. All I can say is, it is a start. I am always trying to start by starting, and that is what I did. I had a self-inflicted mission, and I made it through. Please understand though, these are not all 50, 000 high-quality words — I would occasionally type
“this is lame. this is lame. this is lame.”
and those words count just as much as the brilliant ones. When the kittens walked across the keyboard, I left those “words” in. But I completely surprised myself by creating characters that did all sorts of interesting things. I surprised myself by writing scenes that flowed out of my hands like water. We participants were urged to not spend time going back to read or check anything already written (when I broke that rule, I then understood why they made the suggestion in the first place; rereading only compelled me to write things like “this is lame, this is lame, this is lame”).
But some of those scenes I went back to check? I barely remembered writing them. Sometimes I did not remember them at all. Those scenes wrote themselves. Along the way some goofy, lovable characters wandered in and out of the story, and at the very end? Some mild-mannered elderly lady who lived down the street in the story ended up doing something very surprising. I did not see that coming at all. I wrote the ‘original’ ending in week two, and filled in lots of scenes for the next two weeks. Then, Mrs. Bentley showed up and suddenly it all made sense.
I say “made sense” in that brave way of someone who has not yet gone back and read it. I am going to float on my post-marathon high for a while longer. Then the revision process will start. There is still much happy work to be done.