As I've written about a bit, I took the month of November to write a novel as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. 30 days. 50,000 words. And I actually finished.
I originally took on the challenge simply to take one month to do something that I really enjoy doing. And trust me when I say that I really needed to do that for myself. I love to write, and when I'm pushed hard enough (with, say, 50,000 words to write in one month) I am capable of being kind of good at it. I say "kind of" good not to be self-deprecating, but because it's the truth. A Harper Lee or a Dave Eggers, I am not. I am what I am. One thing on the list of things that I am good at happens to be writing. Just ask my colleagues whose press release was called out in an office-wide meeting for being outstanding. Yeah, that was mine. It's hanging on my wall behind me right now. Or who edits probably about half of the press releases that come through this place. See, I'm not self-deprecating, or even humble.
What I discovered over the past month is that I have more to say than I thought I did. I started writing on November 1st with an idea that I had decided on on October 31st, and just wrote. I wrote 50,270 words. For that, I am both pleased and proud. I worked hard a lot of the time, and there were a few days that I did not write at all out of frustration or because of my shoulder injury (ouch). Over the last week and a half, I wrote almost two-thirds of my novel, because I had gotten so behind in the front half of the month. As of Sunday evening, I had more than 11,000 words left to write in 24 hours. I "finished" at 11:43pm on Monday and uploaded my word count to the NaNoWriMo website with just minutes to spare. When I got home after 12:30 that night, my back, shoulders and arms ached from being hunched over my computer. I was as tired as I had ever been before. But it was done and I felt awesome. And now I am wearing my NOVELIST button on my coat.
Last night, on my first novel-free evening, I made cupcakes because I could. They were delicious.
Next Tuesday, I plan to start the editing process on the second draft, and someday soon I may even let someone read my currently untitled work. Rachel has requested an autographed printed copy. On it, I plan to write, "Thank you for your support. Sorry that I ignored you for a month. I'm glad our relationship survived this. Xoxo, Your Literary Highness."