The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and dragging plotlines and flying candy bars. First and foremost, I want to give a very big congratulations to all the NaNoers in Chapel Hill, N.C., and around the country who met their personal goals, whether they were to 5k or 50k or simply write every day. We did it.
For those of you who are curious, I made it to 43,705 words by the stroke of midnight. Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal of 50,000 words, but I was so close! On Nov. 30, the very last day, I wrote more than I ever have before — about 10k in one day. That is crazy. (The words weren’t exactly fine contributions to the novel, but quantity > quality is the essence of NaNo.) This year’s writing challenge taught me so much about myself and my writing. For one whole month, I showed that I love writing enough to put it above all else, even school work and health — this is no exaggeration, as I was sick during the last week. Still, it was worth every hour spent groveling over word vomit.
Even though I didn’t “officially” win, I still felt like a winner when it was all over because of so many new developments that would’ve otherwise not been created. If I hadn’t decided to partake in the writing challenge this year, my book would still be less than halfway done. The thing is, 50,000 is just some lame number. It’s really no different from 49,999. Technically, you could just type “the” 50,000 times and enter “50,000” into the word count validator and say you “won.” But that wouldn’t feel very fulfilling, would it?
Even though NaNoWriMo is all about how many words you write and not how meaningful each word is, it’s also about how far you can take your characters. Where the story takes you and get you to where you want to be. I’ve learned that it’s never, never too late to finish what you started. Just because November is over doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing my novel. The best thing NaNoWriMo has trained me to do is write on a daily basis. It’s more than just a habit, it’s a lifestyle.
One last note: This was the first year I publicized my NaNoWriMo endeavors so extensively on Facebook and Twitter. My goal for doing so was to hold myself accountable, but I discovered something else as well. What kept me going every day wasn’t the fear of feeling guilt for not writing, but the desire to strive for what everyone — my family, my friends and all the people who believe in me — sees me as: a passionate writer who doesn’t give up. Throughout the month, I received so many personal messages from different people who knew I was participating in the challenge. And when I ran into friends on the quad or in the dining hall, they would ask me how NaNoWriMo was going. This meant so much to me.
Thanks to everyone for all the support and encouragement over the past month. Proud to be a writer.
NaNoWriMo Word Count 2012: 43,705
Overall Novel Word Count: 101,486 (and still counting…)
Now that NaNoWriMo is over, it’s time for finals.
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