TGIO (Thank God it’s Over)

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!

3 Replies to “TGIO (Thank God it’s Over)”

  1. This is wonderful! Amazing that you write longhand! I saw some fellow Wrimo’s doing that at a write-in I went to in England during NaNoWriMo 2016 and was equally amazed. One writer told me she used Dragon Speaking to later transcribe her handwriting via speech-to-text on her computer. BTW, that year at least, there was a kind of prize for “winners” — Scrivener at 50% off (so 20£ instead of 40£) — which I did end up buying. I too am a pantser and had no finished book at the end of it but yet another 50 thousand words, this time written within 30 days. I really enjoyed the community aspect though it did feel like a lot of pressure. I got my son into writing too, that year and the next, via the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. Perhaps that was the most worthwhile outcome. If I personally did NaNo again, it would be with a plan not to “pants it” for once.

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    1. I like to drive a manual transmission car, too. Always have. I guess I like to do things the hard way.

      Honestly, I like to write first drafts by hand for two reasons: one, the tactile pleasure of pen on the page; two, it isn’t as easy to slip into “editing” mode. I can type much faster than I can write, which is helpful in capturing my thoughts, but I just can’t keep myself from stopping and going back over what I’ve typed. So, despite the faster speed, typing ends up taking LONGER.

      I bought Scrivener way back when I first tried NaNoWriMo. I think they are a recurring sponser. And what a great place to introduce your software! And such a good program too.

      That’s AWE-some that you got your son into writing with you. It’s always nice to find a new way to connect with the kiddos, but to get to share your passion (writing) that’s doubly special!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love hearing about your process. That all makes sense for sure. I use Scrivener as my journal now though I really miss having a simple password protection as I had on my other journal apps. I love the snapshot feature of Scrivener though. Yes, thanks for your kind words, I felt super excited to have that connection with my son! I’ve got to try to motivate him to do it again. Takes a lot of carrot-waving! :))

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