Yay! I won NaNoWriMo!
This year’s graph fits better than last year’s into the spirit of what they say they’re after: incremental daily progress. I didn’t have to force myself to write >10K words in the last day, and that was a Good Thing.
Also, this year’s novel is just better. I’d estimate it’s only 1/8 to 1/10 drivel, whereas last year’s is at least 1/3 drivel. I’ve never had a problem with allowing myself to write drivel. In fact, perfectionism itself (at least as traditionally defined) has never been my issue. My inner critic/inner editor/whatever is pretty meek and quiet. I have trouble waking her up once the whole melee is over. Sometimes I’m not even sure she exists.
Nevertheless, the video they show you with the people cheering after you validate your novel never fails to make me shed at least a tear or two.
By the end of November, I was pretty tired of it. I let a lot of things slide, and I still haven’t really begun to catch up. Loads of laundry. Fixing the C-string fine tuner on my son’s cello. Blogging. Buying ant baits. A thank you note to the generous souls who hosted us for Thanksgiving. Constructive feedback to my teaching mentee. Cleaning out the fridge. Picking up my new glasses. My family’s holiday letter. Freezing down some persimmon pulp before the fruit all rots and falls off the tree.
I also keep track of my pedometer steps on a monthly basis (December shows last year’s data, used as a placeholder). August is traditionally my best month, as it was this year. Thirty-one long, warm days plus vacations make for lots of walking and physical activity. November, not so much. And, as I suspected, sitting in front of a computer for so much of the day, every day, doesn’t help either.
The best thing, aside from the novel itself, that I think I got out of the experience this year was a comment made on my Facebook page from a friend who started NaNo but didn’t finish all 50K words. She wrote that she didn’t want to write every day at all, and didn’t want to write that intensely for one month out of the year. Rather, she wanted to write regularly, a few days a week, year-round. It didn’t bother her that she didn’t “win.” She just went ahead and made a writing schedule. How sensible and sane is that!
I’m going to try doing that too. I plan to write 4 days a week: Monday, Thursday, Friday, and one weekend day, generally Saturday but sometimes Sunday if I happen to have big plans outside the house for Saturday. Tuesday and Wednesday are for music and teaching, respectively. And one weekend day is for rest and recreation.
Combining sedentary work at a computer with physical activity: still a challenge after all these years.