For the past twenty-nine days (minus three for various celebrations), I have worked diligently on my eighth novel. Today, I reached the magic number of 50,000 words written, which indicates that I have "won" NaNoWriMo.
However, I do not have a completed first draft of my novel yet. As a matter of fact, I haven't even picked the poison of choice for my murderess! I've still got a chapter or two before I have to make that decision. Though I had originally hoped to pen the entire 60K+ novel during this month, I find myself dragging across the finish line with only a day to spare and probably another two weeks' worth of writing to do, if I return to my normal 1,000 words per day. Which, of course, I will definitely be doing.
So, what stopped me from reaching my goal? I didn't let much get in my way. I wrote at a steady 2K a day rate from the 1st through the 16th. After much debate, I gave myself my birthday off -- and boy, did I need it! On the 18th, I was back in my chair writing. Dan and I had Thanksgiving plans that took me away from my computer for two days. I didn't worry too much -- even with three days lost, I still should have had 54,000 words by the end of the month.
What I didn't count on was getting sick. Since Friday, I have been literally dragging my coughing, miserable carcass to this desk and forcing myself to write at least 1,000 words. Do I think that anything I have written in the last four days is any good? It's hard to tell. I know there are parts that won't make it past my first read-through. But then, that's true of every novel I write. If you don't want to get choked by writer's block, you have to keep writing -- even when you suspect the words might just be crap.
What the last month has taught me:
1. A detailed outline, even one that turns out to be not quite right, is a great tool for keeping me on target.
2. I can write more than 2,000 words a day consistently -- as long as I'm willing to be exhausted.
3. I'm happy with my normal 1K a day goal, even if that means it takes me three months to write a first draft.
If you participated in NaNoWriMo, be sure to leave a comment and share what you learned about your writing style this month.