I did it, I Finished Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) 2014. This is my 3rd year participating and the first time that I’ve completed the challenge. My first attempt with Nano was a spur of the moment decision after a writer friend of mine was going on and on about the challenge and due to her excitement and passion, I was drawn in. I reminded myself that I have stories to tell too so, I gave it a try. At this very moment I have a few stories sitting unfinished on my hard drive, my poor characters frozen in time, in the middle of a meal or half way through traffic. That’s how I think of my writing; I envision my characters stopped still where I left them with nothing to do. I digress.
Where was I? Oh yeah, my first Nano; I remember it was October 31st 2012 and my friend’s relentless tweeting about banging out fifty thousand words in the month of November. I thought she was mad. But apparently it’s something that people do and enjoy it, now I enjoy it too. That year however, I didn’t finish. My first story, is a very personal story, one that I quickly learned; I wasn’t ready to tell, not yet. A little over eleven thousand words were written that year and I was feeling disappointed in myself for not finishing the challenge. Then I looked at the subject matter and said that it wasn’t time yet. That reasoning didn’t really help but it was the truth. Then the next year’s attempt ended abruptly at forty two hundred fifty eight words and not for lack of words to write. I just put it down one day, I never picked it back up, didn’t even open the file on my computer. I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it even tho it occupied my thoughts. When someone asked me about it, I’d sham it off making light of the fact that I didn’t complete the story saying something clever like, “it’s a work in progress” when in reality there was no progress being made at all. I remember being thankful that no one from the writing groups asked about it, but I’d forgotten that they all know what it feels like too, I didn’t think about that during those moments of shame. Misery loves company? There’s some truth in that adage. Looking back, perhaps I could have alleviated some of my self-torture by confiding in them.
Now this year, I pulled myself over the finish line becoming a National Novel Writing Month winner. For those of you who know what it feels like to both not finish and to win, you know it’s an amazing feeling. What was so different about this year? A richer story? No. Was there more planning or lack thereof? No, not really. The difference, for me, this year was the support I felt, accepted and gave, being determined to finish and taking the necessary steps to ensure that I would finish on time. It was a mountain indeed where write-ins, pep-talks and good friends writing with me throughout the night helped me to defeat the mountainous doubt and uncertainty that I felt with each new plot point. The nagging doubt was like a drop off on that mountain but friends and other writers helped me to weave a flying carpet which allowed me to fly. No, there were no balloons falling from the sky and the doorbell didn’t suddenly ring with a well-dressed man on the other side holding a huge check. That would have been nice though. What did happen was that bright sense of accomplishment erased the edge of disappointment from the prior years. I felt like a winner to me. Writing is enjoyable and a friend reminded me that we have to do something we enjoy doing every day to remember why we’re here and I agree.