Oh, that’s roight. I just finished a jolly good, pell-mell, crazed romp through November, wot wot. Somehow, I’ve emerged victorious from the jumble of letters, words, strikethroughs, wordcounts, agonized screams, cups of too-strong coffee, and zombie-induced mayhem. And now, as I told a friend the other day, I am free to be more less obsessed with my new novel than I have been for the past month.
NaNoWriMo 2010 is over. My brain is mush, my shoulders ache with hunched-over tension, and my fingers hurt. My bedroom looks like a laundry basket projectile vomited all over it for four weeks straight, and the rest of my house appears to have been overturned by overzealous authorities searching for some unknown murder weapon. I’m telling friends that it’s over and getting the response, “Oh, does that mean we get to have you back now?” I’m scratching my head in confusion as to how December could possibly be here already. Didn’t we have Halloween just yesterday?
Normal life has suffered for the past 30 days, and I’m probably going to be recovering — physically, mentally, and emotionally — at least until New Year’s. NaNoWriMo has sucked me dry…and I’ve loved every moment of it.
Yeah, yeah, I whined and complained about how hard it was, and halfway through I declared to one and all that I wanted to quit. Because it was hard, dagnabbit! Writing a novel is, as my MC Anne would say, sugar-torting painful. It hurts! There aren’t enough italics in the world to emphasize this point!
It is all SO worth it. I’ve participated in this monumental insanity seven times and won six. My only regret is NaNoWriMo 2004, in which I got 12k into the story and then quit for reasons I can’t recall. Of all the times I’ve entered and completed NaNoWriMo, I haven’t regretted a single moment I sacrificed for the cause. The sense of accomplishment and the jumpstart this gives my creativity are indescribable. I could probably go so far as to say that what I gain from NaNoWriMo carries me through the rest of the year.
Last year, for the first time, I had a whole group of fellow writers typing merrily away beside me, and it was glorious. This year, the group embiggened, and the amount of mutual encouragement increased exponentially. Although not everyone could be there every week, weekly social writing did take place. We pushed, teased, prodded, and cajoled each other to keep going, don’t quit, write as though your life depends on it — and don’t forget your coffee! And so we did. And we burned brightly, indeed.
I crossed the finish line during the earliest morning hours of November 29th. If memory serves (which it sometimes does in butlerian style; but usually, it just flings slop onto the table and slouches insolently away), this was the first time I’ve ever finished early. My final NaNo wordcount was 50,167. I predict another 25k before I finish the story.
I am a writer. Every year, NaNoWriMo reminds me of this fact in grand, impossible-to-ignore fashion. It brings me together with my tribe. We howl at the moon for a few weeks out of the year and come away with creative souls satisfied. It costs us blood, sweat, and tears — but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Congratulations, WriMos! I salute you, and, as a certain gunslinger would say, I see you very well.