On NaNoWriMo: or “How to go crazy in 3 easy steps”

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I’ve NaNo-ed before, thought this is the first time I’ve actually done it during the month of November (which is officially NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth). Last year, in October, I did my own 50,000 word challenge in hopes of finishing off “The Mark of the Hummingbird”. While I didn’t make it to 50k words that time, I did finish my manuscript. I decided to join the “fun” this year to finish off the third book in the Hummingbird series: “The Rise of the Forgotten”. My goodness, there’s a whole other novel there in the middle, plus edits, publishing, promotion… anyway, I digress.

NaNoWriMo is super-duper fun if you’re insane and a great way to get words on the page, though I’ll be honest, I struggle with the “just get words out, no matter how bad they are” tip. I get that it’s because first drafts are not really a place for perfection, and lots of edits can happen later, but people… I HATE EDITING. Some people love it, but the idea of tearing the whole thing apart after I spent so much time writing it just gnaws at my brain. It’s a necessary evil, and of course, I’ll rewrite as much as it takes to get a polished final product, but if I can cut out a pile of that editing, and write intentionally from the get-go, I’d rather do that.

There are people who have finished NaNoWriMo already. They’ve packed their 50 THOUSAND words into less than 13 days, and while I’m totally jealous of them (not the hours they had to put in, but that they can now spend the rest of November eating chocolate and sleeping), I remind myself that even finishing in a month is a huge accomplishment. Considering that I write (typically) with at least one child underfoot and always needing unusually high levels of attention as soon as I sit down at the keyboard, getting my 1700 daily words in is a feat in itself.

I’m officially halfway done with NaNoWriMo, having crossed the 25k mark today, and since more than half the month is still left, I’m pretty happy. I’m well past the halfway point in “The Rise of the Forgotten” and am starting to pull all the pieces and characters┬átogether into the final climax of the story, which should make my beta readers very happy. Even feeling like I’ve made progress, I’m also really starting to feel depleted. Writing this much in a month is kind of like a writer’s version of a marathon. We hit walls, we get knocked down, we get tired, we lose motivation and want to quit, we assume we’re writing nothing but garbage, and that everyone is going to hate it, but still we press on. (And for me, while I’m doing this, I also have to FEED OTHER PEOPLE. Did you know children need to eat EVERY DAY?!)

NaNoWriMo is kicking my butt… or maybe it’s all the other stuff that’s knocking me down, but either way, I’m exhausted. I need a nap in a bad way, but I’ll make it. If you see me at the end of the month, I might have crazy hair and frenzied eyes, but I’ll finish.

See you at the finish line, folks.