Fifty thousand words in 30 days.

I didn’t think it could be done, but somehow it happened. I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Fifty thousand words.

I really like how the NaNoWriMo (National Noveling Writing Month) challenge gives me permission to suck. I can ignore my inner critic. I don’t need to think about the mediocre quality of what I am writing. It is just about the word count.

After participating in NaNoWriMo, I have a sense of pride and achievement. I have produced more than I otherwise would. I have written a rough draft. And writing a rough draft gives me a larger appreciation of the books that I love.

Another thing I like about the NaNoWriMo challenge is the deadline. I know, deadlines suck. But the NaNoWriMo challenge shows how meeting achievable daily goals can help you meet your larger goal.

I excel at procrastination. I wiggle out of deadlines that I set for myself because I have a high-speed Internet connection and poor impulse control. It takes me eight hours of fluffing to complete one hour of work.

I fail to meet deadlines that other people set. I ask for extensions, or I don’t complete the task at all (unless I am shamed because I am letting someone down).

But I love deadlines. I adore the pressure of being under a deadline—not at the time, of course. At the time, I hate it. I resent it. I am angry about it. But I love how a deadline encourages me—forces me—to get things done. And the satisfaction that comes after meeting a deadline is very sweet indeed.

A while back I read Time’s excellent interview with Jonathan Franzen (author of The Corrections and Freedom). To avoid procrastinating, Mr Franzen disabled the Internet connection on his writing laptop. Even so, it took Mr Franzen nine years to write Freedom. He gave up HAVING A FAMILY to write Freedom.

I am struggling with this. How do I follow my own ambition—earning a living by publishing novels—without being neglectful of my child and husband?

Is taking time for myself incredibly selfish—especially if writing novels—doesn’t produce (and likely won’t produce) any income?

I shouldn’t think about this now. I just need to focus on my manuscript and make it the best that I can. O.K. Next comes twenty or thirty rounds of revising. Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo. Onward...


Neil said...

Congratulations. I know this is a big achievement for you. Very impressed.

Sheila Siler said...

I am so excited for you! That is terrific. This was my first year to participate, and while I did not cross the finish line I did learn so much about writing and I loved the stats page. Congrats! May you revise with great vigor and find success in publishing!

injaynesworld said...

That's a hell of an achievement, my friend. I'm very proud of you. I like the idea of having a laptop just for writing where the internet is disconnected. Although, when I'm writing I often have to look things up. Oh, well. Nothing's perfect.

Most writers have families and they still write, so don't let that stand in your way. Keep doing what gives you joy and don't even think about what the results may or may not be. In the end, that's up to the Universe.

Congratulations on a job well done!

Suzy said...

After I finished my first novel and my published friend said I would eventually look at it and ERASE THE WHOLE THING I laughed.

I put it aside for 2 years, after asking and getting tons of great (and critical)advice. I then sent it to a woman who was unpublished who pointed out the biggest flaw of the entire book. A flaw no one else had noticed. Especially me.

Correcting it would easily wipe out 3/4 of the manuscript.

I have not touched it since then. I had passion for writing it when I began but that passioned waned enough that by the time I realized the fatal flaw, there was no passion left.

My real passion was in joke writing so I'm happier on Twitter!

(I feel I've told you this story before and if I have, then never mind)

Madame DeFarge said...

Congrats. What will you do with it now?

Happy Frog and I said...

That's an amazing achievement, well done! :-)

CiCi said...

I heard about an earthquake in NZ. Is everything okay at your house?