Another year, another NaNoWriMo challenge over. I crossed the finish line on November 30th with 50,320 words. **happy dance**
I am of the school of thought that anyone taking part in NaNo is a winner, because they either make a start on a novel, or brush up their writing skills, or start a good daily writing routine – or any of a hundred other benefits that NaNo brings.
However, I am still proud to say that I have reached 50,000 words every year that I have taken part (2009, 2010, and now 2011).
So, if taking part already means I’m a winner, what’s the point of crossing the 50k line? I'm glad you asked, Gentle Reader - it's a question I’ve been mulling over.
First, for me it’s rising to a personal challenge. I feel really satisfied to know that I set myself a goal, and achieved it. I’ve always thought that beating other people at things isn’t so great – at best, it means I’ve managed to find someone who is slightly worse at that particular thing. But beating my own challenges– that’s something special.
Then there’s the feeling of overcoming adversity. There is never a “good” month to write 50,000 words, but November seems to be especially bad. In 2009 for example, I got married, my cat died, and I handed in four 10,000-word Honours papers. I still managed to squeeze over the NaNo finish line. This year wasn’t quite as manic, but I was working full time as a lawyer and feeling like my eight-to-ten hour days were wringing every ounce of creativity out of me.
The final Big Deal is consistency. This is a trait I have struggled with over the years with everything, not just writing (eating healthy, exercise, keeping in touch with family and friend, practising various instruments – seriously, everything). So the knowledge that I have written more or less consistently over the month is fantastic. There were a couple of days where I couldn’t write, and those are the sort of pitfalls that would normally get me right off track. But I kept going, and clawed back my word count.
And now it’s over. And I have 50,000 words of a shiny new novel!
I'm interested: what writing goals do you have, and what does achieving them mean to you?