“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
Word counts are due to the NaNo site tonight by 11:59 PM your time zone. Do yourself a favor and get them posted early because the site will see some heavy traffic as midnight starts to roll in around the world. Don’t let your words go uncounted because you couldn’t get the page to load.
We’re here. Thirty days and however many words you’ve written, if you’re still pounding the keyboards, you’ve done good. Make no mistake; 50,000 words in 30 days is a long road, one I think is worthwhile because the point is doing the thing, to take time during the middle of the madness of November to make time for your writing.
I’ve lost two NaNoWriMos since I began doing this annual madness. I’ve always counted myself a winner, though. Each year teaches me something new, most often something I need to change or watch for, habits I’ve slipped into that actively work against the writing need to be changed. The stress and heat of the moment that comes with NaNo exposes these things and I always walk away with a few “do this, not this” and some “you must change this.”
There’s another prize I’ve gained from multiple NaNoWriMos: I can draft faster. I remember a time when getting just a thousand words a day was a struggle. Several times this month, I’ve done sprints where I’ve made a thousand words in 30 minutes. I’ve consistently hit word counts of 2,500 or above in a day, and 3,000 and above a few times. This carries over into the rest of the year and when I sit my butt down in the chair and focus, 1,667 words at some point doesn’t seem so scary any more.
That speed didn’t come overnight. In fact, that mystical 1,667 nearly killed me the first few years. Doing NaNoWriMo, trying to reach that speed help me to slowly, over time, get that count up. If I can’t break a thousand on a given day, I have to ask myself what is wrong.
These are the gifts NaNo brings, win or lose. That you can prove to yourself that you can find the time to sit your butt in the chair and write. That you can write more words in a day than you thought possible. Maybe you didn’t win this year, but if you take the lessons you’ve learned over the past 30 days and bring them to your writing in the next 336, when NaNo starts again, you’ll do better. If you did make 50,000, you’ll write more words next year.
Victory is ours, even if it isn’t the obvious one. What have you learned from doing NaNo this year?