While technically NaNoWriMo ended yesterday, practically speaking, I fell off the wagon two weeks ago and never managed to get back on. Final word count: 15,609.
Well short of the 50,000 word goal, but an amazing leap forward for me in terms of self-discipline. For the first two weeks, at least. I take some solace in these words from the final NaNoWriMo update:
The only time we ever catch a glimpse of our creative potential is when we try something so clearly impossible that only a fool would dare attempt it.
Yep. There’s a tremendous payoff in getting in over our heads. In spending thirty days sleeping too little and writing too much, and watching, delighted, as our imaginations haul their weird and wonderful treasures into the bright light of day.
It’s a heroic endeavor whether you ended up writing 10,000 or 100,000 words, and I hope that everyone, regardless of final word-count, realizes what a brave and inspiring thing they’ve accomplished this month.
Indeed, I caught more than a glimpse, I stared it dead in the eye and…well yes, I blinked, but not before I confirmed that the only thing really standing between me and a completed novel is ME. There’s a million excuses and twice as many distractions, some of each are even legitimate, but the bottom line is that you find the time to do the things you want to do when you really want to do them. Like playing Morrowind til 1am again last night!
This year, NaNoWriMo for me was like being the fifth person voted off of Survivor. I didn’t get far enough to ever really be in contention, but I didn’t completely embarass myself, either. And I learned a lot from the experience.
So my goal for the first three months of 2005 will be to take those hard-earned 15,609 words of Babe Ruth zombie-related randomness and turn them into nothing less than a respectable, cohesive 50,000-word minimum first draft of a novel.
In other news, yes, the rumors are true. Life is too short to hold grudges. It takes more energy to be mad at someone and hold a grudge, then to let it go and cherish the friendship you built. And it’s foolish to ignore your instincts purely out of stubborn resolve, and I have too many good memories to let a couple of bad moments overshadow them. So I followed my instincts Monday night and woke up the next morning feeling better for it.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don’t care
where it’s been, or what bitter road
to come so far, to taste so good.
—Sweetness, from Between Angels, by Stephen Dunn
Thirty and-a-half days left in 2004. What are you doing with them?