I’ve said this to a bunch of people in the past couple of days, as I finished writing my 50,000th word on November 28th. And I find that people who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is are congratulating me on writing the best novel. So first, I’m going to explain what winning means, and then I’ll go into my experience with the writing contest!
When someone says that they’ve won NaNoWriMo, what it means is that they finished writing all 50,000 words. So it’s not like someone sat there and judged all the novels and gave out prizes based on subjectivity and quality of novel. I won because I finished. Which is still no small feat. When’s the last time you wrote a 200-page novel in a month? Exactly.
I’ve never participated in National Novel Writing Month, so this was my first year, and I had an absolute blast!
I call myself a writer, and I have notebooks filled with ideas, but I’ve never finished an entire novel before. So when I finished the last words of my acknowledgements page, I had this wave of relief and accomplishment wash over me. Like if I did this in one month, I could finally unpack all of my other novel ideas as well, and be a real writer who writes novels (as opposed to a writer who thinks a lot and jots down some stuff).
Now that NaNoWriMo is complete, I actually miss it. As stressful as it was throughout the month to have this giant project looming over my shoulder, nagging me every time I sat down to relax, I miss the writing now that it’s over. All of that time I set aside for writing feels like I have so much time to do other things, maybe I can read or catch up on Doctor Who… but all I want to do is come up with another story idea and write some more.
I wonder if that’s what I got out of NaNoWriMo – it showed me the rewards of getting your writing done, and it’s got me wanting to write even more. Even if I hadn’t finished, I don’t think that would have discouraged me. Getting any amount of writing on paper was what felt so good. Perhaps I’ll spend this Christmas holiday working on my next novel…