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Writing Update: The Last Day of NaNoWriMo

The place we type “The End.”

50,000 words, 30 days, a lot of caffeine, not a whole lot of sleep. The challenge ends today. We update our word count for the last time.

Am I ready for this?

On paper, yes. Word count is at over 55,000 words. Story is a mess, but I think that’s to be expected. But there’s another question that follows that one.

Am I ready to go back to ordinary life after trying to write this many words?

No. Not even a little bit.

I’m never prepared for ordinary life.

So I’m going to spend today writing about a few of my favorite parts of NaNo. Everyone talks about the stress, the writer’s block, the damage to your health. We writers like to be dramatic. But that means sometimes we ignore the excitement, the community–let’s look at the obvious–the stories. The reasons we’re crazy enough to do this.

From the top.

  • The excuse to get up every day and write. No shoving laundry and other unimportant things like socialization before your words this month! You have a duty to write now (cue gleeful smile).
  • The fact that because you need every last little word, anything goes. Anything. Hyper-dramatic origin story taking up 27 pages? Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet. It’s enormously freeing. Also somewhat terrifying.
  • The happy little charts telling you if you’re on track or not (here’s mine!)
Don’t the little owls just make you want to smile?
  • The forums. Okay, seriously, now. These discussions. I don’t know who does these things, but “Express your attitude toward your novel in a meme or gif?” Or “The Spork Room Thread,” where we metaphorically stab our writing struggles with sporks? Raise your tankards to the madcap heroes who thought these up.
Prime example of mid-NaNo Spork Room Thread. I may have gotten somewhat carried away…
  • (guiltily here) Getting non-writer people to leave me alone to write because they can only imagine what writing that many words is like.

There’s so much more to NaNo that I should mention…people who understand exactly what it’s like to try (and sometimes fail) to write and are willing to cheer you on even when they’ve never read a word of your story…people who urge you on when you’re daunted by starting the task…the chance to write.

It’s fantastic.

If I could change one thing about how I’ve done NaNo, it would be to have started a long time ago. Everyone talks about the dreaded 50,000 like it’s impossible–but it really isn’t! Only imagine how many rambling, half-finished novels I’d have by now.

It’s quite the little bookish adventure.


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