November 25, 2009


I'm not fishing for affirmation, really I'm not.


No, really. You don't have to comment to say how much you all love me. That's not why I'm posting.

You know when it's that big rivalry game, like USC vs UCLA or Harvard vs Yale or whatever your alma mater is vs whatever school your alma mater hates? And there's six minutes left in the fourth quarter and your team is down, like, 65 to 3, and you're saying things like, "Just a TD and a 2-point conversion, then all we need is seven successful onside kicks!" and "Stranger things have happened!"

Yeah, that's what NaNoWriMo was like for me, about two days ago.

Today, I let the denial end. It's always a sad moment when the inevitable is acknowledged. I am not going to get my 50,000 words in November, 2009. It's possible I'll top 30,000 before December. But this ain't youth sports. There's no medal awarded for finishing tenth out of 14, which my U12 soccer team did this season. (We came 4th in the 8-team tournament of the bottom half of the league. Which won us a medal.)

I could, as some do, give one of my characters a sudden, astonishing affinity for reading the New York Times aloud. Or I could just go gangbusters on knocking out "plot notes" for the remainder of the novel. Either way, it would be throw-away word count. And what's the point of that? Garbage time points by your starters against your rival's walk-ons may be points, but it's hard to feel good about them.

And so I resign myself to failing at NaNoWriMo in 2009. I gave it a good college try, including a 7,000 word day, but ultimately life defeated me. I did learn some valuable lessons, however. I learned how I want to structure my novel. I learned what motivates my main characters. I learned how the story will come together in the end. And I now know I can write it over the next year or two, little by little. Now that I've got the first 30,000 words down.

And the only other thing I have to say is..




Unknown said...

Rub it in. RUB IT IN!

Still not over it.

Sorry about NaNoWriMo, but quality is more important than quantity anyway. I'm sure your work was good.

jjdebenedictis said...

What Nathan said. Who cares if you write 70,000 words if they aren't good words?

The outline you now have for the novel is much more important (and valuable) than your short term NaNoWriMo goal was.

fairyhedgehog said...

I did 25,000 words last year. I didn't see it as a fail. It was a partial success.

So, commiserations on not having the fun of "winning" but congratulations on writing 30,000 words and on learning so much about your story.

PJD said...

@Nathan: Hey, I'm still not over the seven in a row or whatever it was you guys won when we had our string of Gilbertson Holmoe etc in here. With Tedford and Harbaugh, though, this looks like a game that will matter for the next several years. (And thanks for the affirmation on the writing. Not that I was asking for it. Really. No, really.)

@Jen: All my words are good words! The hard part is putting them together into good sentences. :-p But yes, I agree--this year, the writing trumped the word count for me. I've completed NaNo four times already, so that wasn't what I needed to prove this year.

@Hedgehog: Thanks! Always lovely when you drop by. I've been lurking but not commenting over at your blog.

Bernita said...

Is it alright to just say I love you anyway?

Leslie said...

Wait! There are still two days left!

Just for you, some words from Chris Baty:

Every year, several people write 50,000 words in three days and win.

Every year, hundreds of people write 25,000 words in three days and win.

Every year, thousands of people write 15,000 words in three days and win.

If you're still writing, you're still on track.

You can do it.


And words from me: there is almost nothing that I've written in the last five days that will end up in my novel. Maybe a nugget or two... But that's what NaNo's all about, right?

If you're interested in word-warring, I'll be writing late into the night on Sunday and Monday-- well, not too late on Monday because the month ends at midnight :-)