I figured that I should probably address what happened during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year before it rolls around again next year—so three-plus week late is better than never, right? My tardiness is an indication of how busy I was in November. And nothing’s going to change for as long as I’m in grad school (so forever, maybe).
My first year, NaNoWriMo 2013, was ridiculously easy; I validated on the 14th of the month. I wrote NaNoWriMo 2014 at more of a normal pace—not really a struggle, although not as easy as the first. The real difficulty was two years ago. I struggled just to validate and then lost my enthusiasm shortly afterward. With my previous four books, I finished each manuscript, even if it took several months. But in 2017, I gave up and decided to start the same novel over again in 2018. I validated on November 29th, but the results were little better than the previous year. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish that book.
Last spring, a scene with characters I’d never before imagined popped into my head. After jotting it down and giving it some thought, I realized it has novel-scope potential. I decided to save it for NaNoWriMo 2019. For the first three days, I kept up with my word count, and all was well. But starting day four… well, let’s just say that there were some days in November when I wrote less than 100 words. All along, I had prepared to catch up Thanksgiving week, when I would be off work and finally have some “free” time.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving was late this year. If I didn’t finish by that Saturday, I would fail at NaNoWriMo for the first time in my personal history. And since I am generally only competitive with myself, this was not an option I liked to consider.
Look at how much I had to write in the last week of November by checking out this handy graph from the NaNoWriMo.org website:
Every time I updated my word count, I had a visual that showed me exactly how far behind I was—and how much behinder I’d gotten since the previous day. By the time I got to that last week of November, I knew I had to write almost 5000 words per day in order to win. I really wanted to finished by the 29th, just to make sure, so it was a lot of pressure.
Let’s just say that I didn’t do much homework that week. Which left me extremely behind and staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning the following weekend, when my final project was due. But I did validate my novel and finish my project on time. I’m also glad to say that I’m still plugging away at this year’s book. I might actually finish it before NaNoWriMo 2020.