View Full Version : NaNo: Did I Succeed in Writing 50,000 words in the Month of November?

Delilah Rehm
12-05-2007, 11:42 AM
Lots of people begin NaNo and quit somewhere along the way. For me, Thanksgiving just about killed my momentum. After missing that day, sitting at the computer made me feel nauseous. I just couldn’t do it. Add to that general distractions, and it’s easy to get distracted if you really want too. Me? I decided to switch out and organize my two kids’ rooms. Yeah… It was a three day project. I enjoyed the break, but the whole time I thought I was done with NaNo at 34,000 words.

I really had wanted to finish NaNo as a badge of success, and having a third of a manuscript wasn’t gong to do it. When things get tough, sometimes finishing can’t be done. This is fine if you have a lot of other ways to feel successful, but until I’m ready to send out for an agent, I won’t have the chance for many more moments of “well done.”

It’s a stay-at-home mom (or dad) syndrome (even if you work part time from home) that can leave one feeling worthless and undervalued. There’ve been times, pre-writing days, where I felt like I could be replaced by a monkey. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, and not just because monkeys can’t drive around kids and do errands at the bank or grocery store. Raising kids, guiding their path and influencing their values, that’s worthwhile stuff. But it never gave me the satisfaction of “well done” or “clever” that I’ve had pre-kid days when employed full time or going to college full time or both full time (yeah, shouldn’t have had the first baby before graduating, but then, he was my motivation to get serious).

Have I mentioned that I don’t like NaNo? Okay, so I liked in on the 30th when I finished and won (yay me!), but over all, if was hellish. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good for me. It reminded me of skiing. One time at Taos, New Mexico, I saw a trail made of two ski tracks sliding gently downhill in the fluffy snow leading to I didn’t know where. I was curious. So I followed them.


Did I mention I was young and foolish? At the time, I skied at a blue level. This cute little trail that I just had to follow, led to a black diamond slope. It was marked black because it was very, very, very steep. I looked down that slope and thought, oh crap. How was I going to get down the thing?

I skied almost sideways, at an angle that didn’t have me going out-of-control fast. When I got the edge of the run, I laid down, flipped my legs and skis over so that I was facing the opposite direction, pushed myself up with a pole, and did the same thing in the other direction. All the way down the slope. It took ages, and I was sweating hot! But I made it without breaking anything. It combined with another run that I had previously thought was hard, and you know what? It wasn’t so hard anymore. Doing something way too hard makes what used to be hard, well… not easy, but doable. I was a better skier for it.

NaNo has done the same thing. Thursday I had to bake cookies for my son to take to school for his birthday and I had to take my daughter to daisy scouts (it was mom and daughter craft night, so I couldn’t just drop her off). I was left with 6000 words for Friday, more than I’ve ever written in a single day. I didn’t have anything special to do on Friday, so I had the time, but sometimes it’s hard to get the words out. Luckily for me, on the day I needed it to just flow, it did come easy. Yay! And it showed me that I can write 6000 words in a day. I’m leaving NaNo 2007 knowing I can write 2000 a day if I want. What was hard the first few weeks of NaNo looks easy after the last week.

I’m pleased I succeeded at NaNo and have half a first draft of a novel. I plan to keep writing and finish the first draft in January, then start editing in March.

Day 19: 32,925 (+2200)
Day 20: +0
Day 21: 34,045 (+1120)
Day 22: +0 (Happy Thanksgiving)
Day 23: 34,489 (+444 of total crap)
Day 24: +0
Day 25: +0
Day 26: +0 (really depressed)
Day 27: 37,178 (+2689 manic happy)
Day 28: 41,025 (+3847)
Day 29: 44,024 (+2999)
Day 30: 50,001 (+5977)