Thirty days ago I thought, “What the hell.” I would give National Novel Writing Month another go. I had an idea for a novel I was sure would carry me through the whole month—I’m a pantser, meaning I go in without a plan or outline or anything other than a vague idea. Besides, I had nothing better to do.
The first time I participated, back in 2009, it was quite a slog to get through. Second verse same as the first. This time through my workflow has changed, which made it more challenging—’cos 50,000 words in a month isn’t challenging enough, right?
(A friend of mine wrote three 50,000 word stories… But he’s a asshole so that doesn’t count.)
I start off everything I write in my notebook, writing by hand, because it facilitates the creative process. By contrast, writing on my computer (or iPad) facilitates the editing process. The difference between the two is that when in the creative mode the muse is whispering ideas from the depths of my subconsious and the words flow without restraint. When I’m in the editing mode the little voice in my head is the critic/sensor/editor. He says things like: “You can’t write that!” “That’s stupid!” “That’s not the proper use of a semicolon!” and so on. Trying to create with the editor shouting in my head is too distracting. I get very little done. So, I write longhand first then transfer to digital.
Which means, this year I wrote my 50,000 words by hand. This time the creative mode was literally a pain. I mean, I was popping ibuprofen, wearing a wrist brace, massaging Arnica gel, and having nightly epsom salt soaks. Despite the extra work, and pain, I managed to get through it. And though I don’t have the novel I started off writing—the idea wasn’t enough to carry me through the whole 50,000 words—I did finish with the follow stats:
- 105 hours writing time (give or take an hour)
- 51,677 words (roughly, I had to estimate based on counting a few pages of writing text)
- 3 1/3 notebooks (or 403 pages)
- 2 1/4 pens (that’s right, completely bled out two pens)
While I might not have the single novel I set out to write, I have four different projects that I think are pretty cool. I hope to edit a couple to publish here (or at least link to where I publish them eventually). One of which being an essay on what it was like to suffer through NaNoWriMo. So, stay tuned.
In the meantime, I’m gonna breathe a deep sigh of relief then go soak my hand and wrist. But first I want to claim my well-earned prize.
What? There is no prize? The hell you say!