With 9,000 words to go, the end is in sight. I’ve been busting my butt since November 1st to get a novel out of my head and onto the page, and I’m afraid to look back. Though every word may be shit, they’re still words, which is good enough for most novels. I’ve learned that when you sign up for NaNoWriMo you sign a little bit of your life away, but it’s largely the bit you don’t want. I had to evict the perfectionist demons in my head if I wanted to get anything done, and for that I’m thankful.
I’ll admit, not everything about this past month has been a dream. In fact, it’s been a lot like hell! But what makes you agonize over third person vs. first person perspective makes you stronger. Here are some of the pros and cons of participating in National Novel Writing Month:
I’d really like to know who nominated the month of November. Next to December, it’s probably the worst month to attempt doing anything. Most people have family to see, beards to grow, football to watch, and piles of stuffing to regret eating. Writing a novel could not have come at a worse time, but when the going gets tough, your novel gets going…?
It feels a little like a scam when the website constantly prompts you to donate. Donate to what? The hope that I might get a “free” T-shirt at the end of this thing? Thanks, but no thanks.
Every word I write for anything else—an email, a grocery list, this blog post—feels like words I’m taking away from my novel. My inner monologue: I shouldn’t be wasting words on anything else! I might run out of them before I get to the finish line! (Side note: I don’t think anyone has ever run out of words, just like no one overdoses on pot, you just get paranoid about it.)
If you cut me open, I might bleed brown. Given the amount of coffee I’ve been drinking the past month, that’s a real possibility.
NaNoWriMo has given me the kick in the pants to follow something through from start to finish. Most projects I attempt start with enthusiasm and energy, only to veer off a cliff about twenty pages in. This way, no matter how bad the writing gets, I’ve just got to plow through. Because when you write 50,000 words, they aren’t all going to be winners.
There’s a bit of accountability when you’re logging in your word count every day. It calculates for you what date you’ll finish if you go at the rate you’re going, which can be depressing/sobering if you got off to a slow start. The bar graph doesn’t factor in magic or writing fairies showing up at the last minute to save you.
I’m building up the endurance to write through not feeling like it. In a lot of ways, it resembles training for a marathon. You have to build a tolerance and put in the hours. It’s also an excuse to eat high-carb goo in lieu of real meals.
I had to cut out Bravo to find the time to write. I don’t need real housewives after all.
Of course, there are a number of obstacles that could set me back this last week. I might go into a turkey-induced coma tomorrow. I could get trapped on NJ Transit in the middle of a snowstorm and have to finish my novel on the backs of ticket stubs. Or worse, I could be trapped in Brooklyn and have to finish my novel in a trendy café surrounded by hipsters. But if I’m this creative coming up with obstacles that might slow me down, I’m certainly creative enough to come up with an ending for this beast.