Well, I won. I wrote 50,000 words in November.
On the evening of November 1st, after my son was in bed and the kitchen was cleaned up from supper, I remembered I’d joined NaNo at the last minute and I needed to do my word count.
Even though evening is not my best time for writing, I walked into my office and sat down at my desk. In less than an hour, I’d banged out just over 1667 words on the short story I’ve been thinking about for months.
That was easy, I thought.
Then: Why was it so easy? That’s never happened before.
On November 2nd, the same thing happened. At the end of my day, I just sat down and wrote the words I needed to write to meet my goal. I loved watching my little bar of words meet the slanting line that showed I was on track with my word count.
If I compared my previous NaNo wins (and attempts) to the story of the tortoise and the hare, I was always the hare. This year, I was the tortoise.
The first weekend of NaNo I didn’t meet my word count goals, but by the end of the next week, I’d caught up again. Toward the end of the month, I had more “no words written” days, but I’d already completed so many words I wasn’t willing to give up.
Luckily, I hosted a Write-In at my local library on November 28th, so I was able to really boost my word count while in the company of fellow writers.
Winning NaNo this year was a little anticlimactic. In previous years, I was behind (really behind) most of the month and the question of whether or not I could write 50,000 words in a month took up a lot of room in my mind.
- When am I going to write?
- Can I really catch up if I’m this far behind?
- Why did I sign up for this?
- Why did I tell people I was doing this?
This year, I just sat down and did it, day after day. No drama, no angst—just get it done.
For the first time ever, I was able to shut off my inner critic, my internal editor, and just write—which made the writing go much faster than my usual pace.
I haven’t looked back at what I wrote yet, but I doubt much of it is usable. But some of it will be.
And that’s the whole point, right? To have something to edit, rather than a blank page.
Which I do.
Now it’s time to rewrite!
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, and family physician. I’m ready to look back over the year and see what I’ve accomplished and what’s on tap for 2016. You?