what's it like to... write a novel in 30 days?
My NaNoWriMo story.
February 4, 2005 at 4:45am I reached my goal of writing a novel 50,000
words long in less than 30 days!
What an amazing feeling! What was more amazing was that I wrote the whole
thing in only 26 days! Inspired by the book “No
Plot? No Problem!” and the companion web site nanowrimo.org,
I set my goal and went for it.
This was a huge learning experience for me. When you set out to write
a story of 50,000 words in 30 days you have to write an average of 1,667
words per day in order to finish on time. Previously I could have managed
only 200 words per day on anything. But what this exercise in creativity
taught me was I didn’t need to listen to my inner editor, my inner
critic for the first draft. The whole point was to let loose and just
get it out there. I surprised myself on the first weekend after beginning
the quest, by writing over 4,000 words on a Saturday night. That gave
me a comfortable lead which would come in handy later on when I would
“hit the wall” at around 36,000 words. There was one memorable
low point where I only wrote 68 words for the day. I kept plugging away
though, and by the time I reached 40,000 words I got my second wind. Motivated
to finish strong, I made the decision last Thursday evening to write to
the end, do or die. I drank nearly a gallon of green tea (yes I measured)
and for the next eight hours wrote the last ten thousand words in a state
of hyper-animation broken only by short breaks to stretch and massage
my cramping neck and shoulder muscles and shake out my burning, aching
wrists and forearms.
When I typed the last two words and saw the word count on my word processor
I breathed a sigh of relief, then promptly did a little victory dance
which continued outside to the front lawn where I jumped around and tried
my best not to wake up the neighborhood. The feeling of reaching a goal
for someone like me who seems to always fall short, was like nothing else.
I then sent out an email to friends and family called YEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!!
I FREAKING DID IT!!!!!!!!
So what now? Well, the book is in a “cooling off” period where
I will let it sit for a few weeks. Then I will come back to my story with
fresh eyes. I’ll be able to see things I didn’t see before.
I’ll be able to do more character development and weave a better
yarn. I’ll enter the re-writing phase which will take a slower pace,
not like this frantic breathless push of the last 26 days. And who knows,
someday it might even be published. But what ever happens, I’m really,
really glad I did it. Here's
the screen shot.