farewell to nanowrimo

When you’re not just procrastinating on writing for nanaowrimo, but procrastinating by writing about nanowrimo, and then procrastinating on that–you know you’ve got something bad.

The novelist is a mad animal, however we care to look at it.  Stare at a screen, or a blank page if you’re progressive, scribble and type and hem and curse and type some more.  Agonize because you don’t know what imaginary people are going to do fifty pages later.  Swear a bit more, stare out the window, scribble something that sounds nothing like what you intended.

Repeat until you’ve got a book full of scribbles.  Or a doc full of types, if you’re retro.

Isn’t this fun?

My notes for today’s post look a bit terrible.  The blogger, apparently, is a bit of mad animal too.  Or at least uninspired.

I have a reference to discussing ‘lessons learned’ and musing on ‘where to go from here’.  Meaning of course, the last day of the 2009 Nanowrimo experience.  Novelists may write in other months, but November alone is the National Novel Writing Month.

No, I don’t think I won nanowrimo.  It’s not midnight yet, of course, but here’s the stats for your own judgment:

Word Count:

11/1: 19543

11/30: 40040

Monthly Total: 20497

That’s not 50k.  I doubt whether it will turn into 50k before midnight.  Though I may get a pumpkin out of the deal.

But then, I wasn’t really playing the game, after all.  I seized an opportunity to get myself to actually work on my existing MS, a disqualifying foul in the nanowrimo playbook.

It worked.

In a month, I managed to double the length of a novel-length manuscript.  Can I drink to my personal best?

Lessons learned.  Hmm.  I think I have a few of those.

If you lose your footing, don’t think you’ll find it again.

I console myself for my alleged loss by thinking that I might well be much closer that elusive 50k (or, if you look at my initial ambitions, 60k) were I to count all the words I’ve written here at Paradoxes to share with you dear people.  I leave it to any mathematically inclined friends to actually do the calculations.

If you’re maintaining a regular blog and a dozen other writing projects, writing 50k words on a single manuscript can be really hard.

I learn also, to my continued consolation (How much kleenex does a man need?  All those carbs can’t be good…) that I may in fact be eligible for a win in the Nanowrimo Young Writer’s Program.  Their target is ‘reasonable, yet challenging, word-count goals.’  Which, considering the very real life I found myself compelled to live this November, sounds about right.

And if I shave off my beard, I might almost be able to bluff my way through the ’17 years old and younger’ restriction.  Almost.

But really, I couldn’t just write ‘quantity, not quality’, however few or many words I write.  I’m a manic editor, I edit faster than I write.  As I’ve said before, if I think I’m writing tripe, I can’t write.

So, here’s to you, nanowrimo 2009.  Heaven loves you more than you can know.  As the contest runs down in the UK, this avatar of a dapper civil servant is giving a one man ovation to anyone who one Nanowrimo.  And another, just as loud, to anyone who thinks a novel is worth writing, for whatever occasion.

As a chronicler of distinguished detectives once said, ‘If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.’

I did my shadow nanowrimo badly because I wanted to write well.

Heaven knows if I did, I suppose.  The novelist is a mad animal, and I am no exception.  For some unaccountable reason, I think this is fun.

The last word I wrote?  ‘Quickly.’  Blame it on what you will.

Happy Novel Writing, whatever the time of year.  Write well.

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