This is coming to you a bit late, but no bother. This late blog post will just allow me to relive the glorious last week of Nano. Yes, I am already nostalgic for November.
Let me tell you what, I could not be more thankful for the fact that Thanksgiving break is right in the middle of Nanowrimo. If not for that wonderful week off of school, I probably would not have gotten nearly as far as I did. Instead of sitting in classes and working on papers (I had to play catch-up this week), I spent all of my free time writing, reading, thinking about my novel, eating, writing some more, etc. I did discover something about my writing process that I’d not known before.
I used to sit down at the end of the day with a big two or three hour chunk of time and then just write. I thought this worked best for me. I’m not much of a morning writer because my brain is too busy worrying about all the other things I have to do, so I thought nighttime was the best time for me to write. As it turns out, that huge block of time I used to give myself was not promoting my best work. I would write for fifteen minutes, get stuck, stare at the screen, delete the last two paragraphs, write a little more. It was not very productive. What I discovered was that I work better in small chunks of time.
I had to stay in FoCo and take care of the farm over break, so in between feeding animals, milking the goat, and collecting chicken eggs, I would sit down and write 500 words in fifteen minutes. Then I would be up and doing the next chore that was calling my name. By the end of the day, I would have a few thousand words to add to my word count, and that felt fabulous. The short spurts of writing time also kept me focused on what I was doing. I couldn’t sit and stare at the screen for an hour, so that forced me to at least write something.
Thanksgiving threw a wrench into my writing schedule, but I got to spend it with my great friend and her fabulous extended family, which was absolutely worth losing some writing time. Writing is a very solitary pursuit (especially when you are staying on a big plot of land with no one to talk to), so it was nice to step out of my isolation shell and remind myself that there are actually other humans in the world. Plus her family makes delicious food, so I even allowed myself to fall into a food coma when I got back home.
The last few days of November were a rush. In order to hit 50,000 words I needed to write between 5-6 thousand words a day. And by golly, I did it. It wasn’t easy, but the rush I got when I validated my word count was absolutely worth it. There is something so powerful about setting an outrageous goal for yourself and then achieving it by the skin of your teeth. I told myself that there was no way I was going to lose this year. Losing was not even an option. So I forced myself to write, and write, and write. And at the end of it all, I had an additional 50k chunk to work with on my current novel.
I’ve not finished my novel yet, but I’m getting very close. I plan to have it finished by the time I head home for winter break, and then I can sneak into my mom’s workplace and print out the hundreds and hundreds of pages with ink and paper I don’t have to pay for. But shh–don’t tell anyone I told you that.
Be expecting some blog posts on my editing and revision process in early January. That’s where the fun really begins.
Natalie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org