30 days, 106 pages, 50,147 words, 2 narrators, 10 major characters, 4 antagonists, 11 (completed) chapters, countless cups of tea, 7 days of Murdock-related shenanigans and 2 visits to the doctor. November has been a busy month to say the least!
I decided to take a moment on the last day of National Novel Writing Month to look back over the exercise and see if I learned anything from it (aside from new and improved ways to procrastinate). This has been my first year taking part in the race to fifty thousand words and like all marathons it's been a long haul. I can understand why not everybody finds it a useful method of creative writing. The focus on quantity over quality can at times make the words sound forced and lacklustre, and the pressure of an impending deadline can really suck the fun out of a hobby that at all other times is an enjoyable form of escapism. I'd be lying if I said that every day of the past month has been fun, just as I'd be lying if I told you that the book I set out to write went totally according to plan during that time, but I guess that's all part of the journey. Minor characters who were only meant to serve a purpose in one scene managed to con their way into becoming part of the regular cast, others who had a more important role have been toned down a little. However, despite changes I can honestly say that I'm happy with where the experience has brought me. One month ago, I had a lot of ideas and many thousands of words worth of notes, but nothing substantial in the way of actual pen-to-paper (or in this case fingers-to-keyboard?) writing. What I have now may be rough and incomplete, but it's given me the confidence to press on and see how this mudsucker's going to end.
My first NaNoWriMo? It may have put my already shaky social life on the back bench, but I like to think it's been worthwhile. If nothing else, it's given me the push off the edge I was in desperate need of and made me start the damn thing instead of just planning it to death.
So, if you're anything like me and can't shut off the internal critic, this is an exercise that's well worth doing. Also good for the procrastinators, though I can't say I've been cured of that... only made more cunning at hiding it.
Next stop: the end! Let's see if this daily word count can last another month or so!