Limbo-Dancin' to the Winning Post
Taking up the National Novel Writing Month Challenge was great fun. I've written 50,000 words, had them validated on NaNoWriMo and have been flagged as a WINNER. Best thing I've ever done as a writer of fiction.
The Starting Post
What a daunting task it seemed to be. I'd visited the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website a hundred times or more over September and October.
"Will I do it?" I thought.
"Nah!" I said.
"But it's about time you set yourself a writing challenge, Sheila, and you've never got past Chapter 1 of your novel."
"Mmm...maybe." I pondered.
Then I said, "Nah!"
On and on the days passed by. Time and again I said, "Nah!"
Then I read Val Mills' NaNoWriMo article on Wikinut and thought, "Get up off your backside, lazybones (or words to that effect!)...
And wrote a page on Wikinut -to make myself believe - and tell the world.
And I signed up.
Past the Half-Way Mark
On November 1st, I was a bundle of nerves.
"Right, let's get this party started," I urged myself on.
And I wrote and I wrote, that day - and the next - and the next.
I got writers' cramp. I drank coffeee and tea until they were pouring out of my ears. I sweated over the tough parts where I would suddenly come to a full stop.
"Where do I go from here?" I'd ask myself.
Then I'd pace and pace the floor until I was back in full flow.
And sure as apples is apples, by the middle of the month, I was just a little past the half-way mark.
Passing the Winning Post
The days went on. Autumn turned to Winter. My computer keys clicked and clicked their way through the next chapter - and the next - and the next.
Chocolate bar wrappers littered the floor around my den.
"Have a chunk of chocolate, girl. Give yourself some energy."
At every sticking point, I whipped myself back into shape, staring into the mirror at my jaded image, giving myself a pep talk or two.
"C'mon, Sheila, you can do it."
"I can't. I'm exhausted. Can't think," I answered myself.
But I sat back down on my calloused rear end and got on with it.
26,000 words became 30,000 words. 35,000 words became 40,000 words.
And i was on the home stretch.
From that point ,it got easier. I could see the wood for the trees. I could see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
"How many words now?" I said to myself, updating my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, two days before the finishing date.
"48,000? Wow - let's get this licked," I said.
And then it was the 29th November - one day before the final countdown.
"How many words now?" I asked myself, updating my word count again.
"50,604 words. I've done it!"
With shaking fingers, I copied and pasted my work into the 'validating' section of the NaNoWriMo site.
And 'Voila' - I'd done it!
CONGRATULATIONS - YOU'RE A WINNER.
The screen lit up with those wonderful words. I've never been so happy and relieved in all my life.
All Set to Complete my Novel
I've had the time of my life (in the words of the Dirty Dancing song) taking up the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month. Would I do it again? You bet!
But just a little tip to anyone who's thinking of joining me in next year's challenge. Get your outline/synopsis done before day one of the challenge. Get your character profiles laid out too. And a brief chapter-by-chapter scenario wouldn't go amiss either. Then all you have to do is write...and write...and write.
So, those 50,000 words are under my belt now. But that doesn't mean that my novel is finished - oh, no!
I predict that the final word count will be around 65,000 words. And now that I've got the momentum going, I'm going to strive to get it finished and ready for the editing stage - first draft, second draft, third draft....
And I think I've had a tough old month? Don't you believe it! The really hard work is yet to come!
Nevertheless - I'm a WINNER! And I've got the biggest, cheesiest smile on my face.