After thirty days, I sit here with a weight fallen off my shoulders. I embarked on my very first NaNoWriMo journey, and I emerged victorious. My very first novel was written through my very first National Novel Writing Month, and even though there is still some more work to be done before the plot has reached its conclusion, I have reached the fifty thousand words.
For the past four weeks, I highlighted the strategies that got me through day after day of achieving the word count. The following list is the complete collection of the various tactics that helped me reach the apex of Mount Novel:
- Writing with both a computer and a journal, and occasionally an iPhone
- Changing vantage points around the room
- Sitting in multiple (uncomfortable) ways
- Setting small goals and rewarding myself when I meet them
- Grouping the daily word count of 1,667 words into 500, 500, and 667 words
- Taking advantage of my lunch hour at work
- Making a playlist
- Listening to the playlist
- Staying up late until the word count goal has been reached
- Keeping an open mind and a flexible outline
- Updating novel cover on NaNoWriMo website
- Creating and updating an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of words written per day
- Asking “Where do I want these characters to be at the end of these 1,667 words?”
- Asking “Where do my characters want to be at the end of these 1,667 words?”
- Staying up late with my fiancé as we worked on our respective writing projects in silent support
- Downloading ebooks on writing to reward me for a hard month’s work
- Just sitting down and getting the words on the page
At the end of this journey, I realized that the challenge is not about creating a masterpiece in a month; rather, it is a journey that pushes against the will of the writer. Achievement on this journey relies on strength, endurance, and determination within a routine. NaNoWriMo has been an adventure for me, and I would probably go so far as to call it an enlightenment. I have learned so much about myself, both as a writer and as a person. I learned that I am determined enough to meet my goals; I honed my time management skills, and I felt my writing grow. Though sometimes my characters did things I did not originally intend or morally agree with, I learned that this is okay, as it became a journey within a journey. I feel enlightened and liberated.
I started this month setting a challenge for myself, and I had no idea that I would emerge not only victorious, but changed. I went on a journey with myself through this novel, and I feel cleansed, as if I passed some kind of “write” of passage.
In closing, I recommend searching and listening to the song “Imaginaerum” by Nightwish. That is the only song I know of that sounds how finishing a book feels.