NaNoWriMo – I Did It!

I made it! 50,000 words in roughly 26 days. And I am beat. As predicted, I am roughly 2/3rds plus a bit into my manuscript, but hey, 50,000 words of manuscript in less than a month is a pretty darned good start.

For a lot of folks, and even for me my first several times participating in NaNoWriMo, this is the time when we start to look at our word count and our hope of finishing the 50k starts to seriously fade. But what is important to remember is that whether you have 10,000 words, 20,000 words or even just 5,000 words, you have more words today than you had 30 days ago.

This is hard advice to keep in mind. Trust me, I felt like an abject failure the first few times I dove into this challenge. What you need to focus on is keeping at it. Don’t give up before December 1st. Every day before then is a day that you can add to your word count.

And then, when it is all over, stop. Rest. Sleep. Read a book. Then come back and read what you’ve written. Read it all. Not with an editor’s cap on, but just so that you can get a full understanding of just how much you have accomplished in a single month. If you’re like me, you’ll start getting ideas and need to pull out a notebook to jot them all down before they escape back into the ether.

I would also advise, and I’m going to try to take this advice myself, that you take a week off. Like a full week. Think of it as a vacation. Only do fun things (plus work or school if you have a day gig). Leave writing alone for just a few days.

The thing about NaNoWriMo that you absolutely need to remember is that writing is work. And what you have just done is work 30 days with no days off. Think of how exhausted you would be if you did that at your day job. No weekends for a month. You’d be dead on your feet by the end of it.

And you have every right to be exhausted now. I know I am. I don’t have a day job, but I do have two kids in school. Add to that all the other obligations and meetings and appointments that I already have to do — including laundry, because if I don’t do it then everyone goes naked in the snow — and it all piles up. You deserve a rest. Take one. Take care of yourself. You’ve just run a marathon. And you’ve done a damned good job no matter how far you went!

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