I hate losing. Not that I’m very competitive. I like other people to win, too. But I also hate losing and I love being first.
I lost NaNoWriMo. There was no avoiding it, for me. I severely sprained my spine (read: ruptured a disk) on October 30 and spent the first several days of November laying flat on my back in terrible pain. As I (slowly) recovered, I started typing laying down and managed to get 30,000 words on the virtual page before the end of the month, which was no small accomplishment. The last few days of the month, however, included my daughter’s birthday and birthday party, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah. I was still going to power through. Then on Friday, my computer died when I had left my cord behind at my last place of usage. On Friday and Saturday I made attempts to recover the cord which were thwarted. It was a sad, sad sign.
And still, I went kicking and screaming over that midnight line a couple nights ago.
So, let’s revisit why doing NaNoWriMo was useful in the first place. Was it the swag? The gloating? The little icon on my future years’ NaNoWriMo page? I don’t think so, at least not primarily. The main reason I did NaNoWriMo was to stretch writing muscles that I did not normally use and to have a novel that I didn’t have before, at least in first draft form. Did I accomplish these objectives in 30,000 words? Did I stretch muscles I did not know I had? Yes. I learned a lot–empirically–about writing fast and writing without editing or drafting. I think I will do this again, next year, maybe even do Camp NaNoWriMo this summer. (I’ll know better how to prepare and I will try my darndest not to get laid up.) I also think that some time in the future I am going to work on a book on an old-style typewriter (not the electronic kind) so that I don’t have the option of the backspace button. Then I could move even faster, and that might be an even further stretch. Of course, first I want to see if what I’ve written this time is worth the effort, and then I will have to transcribe…
But as for the second main objective–to have a novel that I did not have before–30,000 words didn’t cut it. I need, I think, 45,000-55,000 to accomplish that. But there is something that I can do about it. I can keep on NaNoWriMo-ing right past the end of NaNoWriMo. And since most novels don’t wrap up exactly at 50,000 words anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s what the plan is for everyone involved in NaNoWriMo. So, if I don’t want my experience to be swamped by a load of excuses, I am setting a new goal, my own personal PerNoWriMo: by next Saturday at midnight, I plan to finish The Night of One Hundred Thieves.
Take it or leave it, ’cause sometimes those are your only two options.
*To continue this thread with the rest of NaNoWriMo 2013, click here.