Winner/Victim: Potato/Potahto

The footnotes are the best part of this post.

I think my husband and kids should get “NaNoWriMo Survivor” badges.
(image courtesy of https://nanowrimo.org/

Much like getting married, having children, or even just being a grownup, the NaNoWriMo challenge is one of those things that seems like a really good idea at the time, but then when you’ve done it, you’re… well, you’re a grownup who’s married with kids — I think we can all agree that the idea of that is a lot more attractive than the reality. And yep, that’s where I am now.

I did it. I won.*

I wrote a 50,058-word novel (“novella” if we must) in thirty days. In fact, I did it in twenty-seven days, because three of my writing sessions were replaced with “going to the pub”. Those were good days.

My daily word count tally. Note the three “days worth living” out of the month.
Also, it took me till November 2nd to figure out the website, so that’s why it looked like I wrote double on the 2nd.
Courtesy https://nanowrimo.org/stats

Every night, after the kids went to bed (or, as the month went on, as the kids were getting ready for bed), I sat down to bang out 1667 or more words. At the beginning of the month, I was keen. After the first week and a bit, I was incredulous. It was going too well. Writing a novel in a month is really easy!

I’m now on Day 12 of #NaNoWriMo2019, and have gotten my #wordcount every day. I’m going to be FURIOUS if it goes this well for the rest of the month and I could have written a novel years ago. #amwriting pic.twitter.com/f4QxHe7c14

— Dammit Karen 🤦 (@kapowfit) November 12, 2019

And then.

And then the pub. The desktop. A pull in my shoulder from poor ergonomics in the desktop setup. The sniffles. I looked longingly at the couch and fluffy blanket from where people with sniffles should be writing, then put up my fuzzy hood on my camping/I have a cold hoodie, put on an extra pair of fuzzy socks, and typed on. Like an animal.

Last weekend, we had two outings on Friday and Saturday evenings, which meant I had to get my wordcount in during the day (“Don’t even think about it,” said Ziggy and the children), or try to do it when we got home, after possibly having a glass (or three) of wine.** So I did.

I had pretty much wrapped up the story part of the story on Thursday, or at least come to terms with the fact that I didn’t have an “ending” for it per se, but thought that perhaps the journey could be the destination. I was possibly rationalizing.*** I still had ~2500 words to go, so I wrote long character sketches for each character.

That’s not cheating. The idea is that, at the end of this challenge/exercise in the destruction of my soul, health, marriage and family, I’d have something you can work with. I’m not supposed to read through it for at least a month (not that I re-read it as I went – that was frowned upon, as was editing as you go), so I’ll be interested to see how it actually went.

I don’t have very high hopes. After all, it’s the story of a woman following her scientist husband on a one-way trip to Mars and realizing that she hasn’t lived her own life. This is not in any way any kind of reflection of my own life and experience.**** 

I am left with a permanent pain in my left shoulder and a giant document that I can edit, tear apart, re-order and maybe make into something good, or maybe not, starting January 1st.

For now, I’ll take it as an exercise in writing and confidence (and a little bit of catharsis). I have no excuses for not writing now; after all, I just wrote a 50,000-word novel in less than a month.

And no, you may not read it. Don’t even ask.


* “winning” this challenge just means completing it. I wrote 50K words, so I won. 
** it was definitely three.
*** I was totally rationalizing.
**** Don’t worry: when the “Chris” character dies, it’s quick and painless.

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