I did it! I did it! I did it! Okay, I promise I’ll stop screaming like a schoolboy now. But I DID IT!! Okay, now I’m done. We are now in the month of December which means that NaNoWriMo is over (most of you just call it November) and although I had to push at the end I got my 50K words worth of novel done. It’s not the full novel yet, I still have a lot to put my protagonist and antagonist through before I am done. But it is more words of a novel than I have ever put down and is a huge step towards the ultimate goal of being published.
More valuable than the words on the page is what I learned about myself and my writing through the experience. Like many writers, I have trouble getting out of my own way and just writing. With a deadline and a goal I was less worried about the words themselves and more focused on getting words on the page. A rough draft is meant to be precisely that. Rough. The story and the writing will get smoothed out in editing. But only if you get a draft out of your head and onto the page first.
I also discovered a tremendous amount about my story. As I mentioned in the post Ready Set WriMo, I went into this event with an outline. It was a fairly bare bones outline and I found myself adding chapters and expanding as I went, particularly as it came to back story. Getting the words on the page and seeing where the story went has allowed me to find the layering I didn’t even know I was looking for.
I also learned that I can do this. I can take longer stories and start fleshing them out. That I can write the longer concepts. I gained a higher level of confidence in my writing as a result of this event, and had fun doing it.
And for the first time I feel like publishing a novel is not just a dream, but an obtainable goal. That lesson alone was invaluable and makes this experience so rewarding and gratifying.
I am excited to finish the first draft and for all of the steps that come next. And grateful to NaNoWriMo for giving me momentum and more tools for my toolbox. I also learned that writing a book can be just as fun as reading one.