Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Not Winning Nanowrimo

I'm not sure it is possible to lose Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), but I'm not one of the thousands of people who managed to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I started doing Nanowrimo in 2005. I have never won the event. My best effort was slightly over 27,000 words. This time, I started out the month behind the pack and struggled with each day. By the end of the first week things looked bleak. My word count hardly made a tiny little blue speck at the tip of the long empty bar marking my progress. I had to fight the urge to give the pep talks the finger (I was reading them at the office and it doesn't look good to flip off the computer there.)

Time was still on my side. I wasn't going to let a little thing like being further behind than I had ever been stop me. No excuses. Never mind that my month began at Magna Cum Murder where I was promoting my novel. That wasn't an excuse. I could catch up, really. It was early November and I could write on the weekend...who needs clean laundry, groceries, or clean dishes. We ordered take-out and kept working. That blue bar didn't budge much, but it budged. I was feeling better about myself when I went back to work on Monday.

Then came the weekend of the 12th and 13th and the Kentucky Book Fair. I'm not a good multitasker. I've never come up with a way to talk to large numbers of people about my book and work on the next one at the same time. Never mind that my phone sat on the table beside the stack of books as I waited for the call telling me my dear friend Dr. Haydon was gone. Never mind that I was at the hospital every evening in those final days. In this situation, what did it matter that it was the middle of the month and I was about 20,000 words behind? The long Thanksgiving weekend was ahead, and I would write.

Now it is December. Nanowrimo for 2010 is a memory. Mixed with that memory is the loss of a dear friend. His funeral was the day before Thanksgiving. I didn't write a lot the last two weeks of November. There were days when I didn't write at all, and others where I managed to eke out 200-400 words. Through it all I continued to write. I gave it my best shot, and kept writing right up to 11:59 PM on November 30th. I didn't win Nanowrimo, but day by day I will win the battle to finish this book. In the end it doesn't matter if I finish it next month or the one after. It matters that I keep writing, editing, and working to make it better than the last book.

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