This year, my frantic month of writing went very different from last year. I completely “pantsed” it this year- meaning I went into it with no plan or outline, or any clue, really, what I was going to do.

I decided to write a story that I had thought of a year or so ago. It was just a vague, hazy story fog floating around in my head. When I first had the idea, I jotted down a few of the main points and didn’t look at it again.

The week before NaNo started this year I had a few minutes panic over what the hell I would write, so I randomly settled on that idea.

It actually turned into a bit of a sequel for last year’s NaNo Novel. It takes place in the same world, but about twenty years later.

It seems like a lot happened in November. I had surgery. I decided to start a new business (more on that in a later post). There was all this craziness, and my writing was not the first thing on my mind.

On the first day, I wrote very little. So few words were written on that day that I can’t even click on the bar on the stats page to tell me what the number was.

See the teeny tiny little brown bar by Day 1? No? Hmmm…

Things were looking bad around the third week, where I had pretty much come to a dead stop at about 32,000 words. I just didn’t wanna write. (insert whiny voice here)

Honestly, the thing that got me to finish, besides pure knuckle-down determination to see the thing to the end, was the 50% off Scrivener coupon.

Yeah. You heard me right. This year, I was in it for the swag.

Which is the first time I have been motivated to write for NaNo for the sponsor rewards, but I can’t really say it will be the last time.

On November 29th, I pushed through and went over the 50,000 words. (It took me 14 days last year to write more than I wrote in 29 days this year, just for reference) Then I immediately fell asleep and haven’t looked at the story again.

It’s not finished. Not nearly. And it was getting to a good part. The grand finale. The big banging, clanging showdown and conclusion.

There’s more work to be done. And I will do it.

My journey through NaNoWriMo this year is a good lesson. It shows that we can do this. Persistence is key.

You want your shitty first draft that I talked about last year? You’re gonna have to work for it. And, if my progress is any indication- you don’t have to work that hard.

I’m not the fastest typist in the world. I can write about 2,000 words an hour. Which means that I if I had just sat my ass down for an hour a day in November, I would have had 60,000 words.

An hour a day. You don’t even have to do that in one stretch. Break it up into 15 minutes 4 times a day.

NaNo always reminds me that yeah, writing can suck. And yeah, writing is hard. But, in it’s basic, most fundamental form, it is so damned easy.

Just show up. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to even be good. That’s the whole point, actually- to give yourself permission to suck.

Look at me- I was pretty close to the definition of underachiever this month. Yet, I’m still considered a winner. NaNoWriMo folks celebrated my accomplishments.

Hell, even I celebrated my accomplishments. Because I wrote over 50,000 words on a brand new story in November. I created new characters, new situations, new worlds. I even, in a fit of procrastination, made a lovely cover for my book:

TheKeeperCover

The month wasn’t an overwhelming success. No one will be seeking me out to write about me in the history books. No one will be calling to offer me major awards.

Yet, it was a success. It still brought me joy and frustration and taught me lessons that I needed to be reminded of.

This year was different in other ways- I didn’t have a friend in the real world working along beside me and checking in almost daily. I didn’t find the same motivation in NaNo Word Sprints that I did last year. I had a harder time focusing. My competitive side fell asleep somewhere and never came back, so I didn’t care what my writing buddies were doing.

To me, it doesn’t really matter how we finished the month. If you had the courage to try, the crazy itch to write, if you just typed your name and couldn’t continue, you still got somewhere. You still came out of the month with more than you had when you went in.

My love for NaNoWriMo is still strong. This thing that I have nurtured and cradled in my brain for over a year came alive last month and became real. That is powerful. That is what NaNo does for people.

So maybe I wasn’t the greatest of winners this year. Maybe I barely made it. But I’m going to finish this story. I’m confident in my ability to just show up and make it happen. And I’ll be back next year for even more.