Victory is mine…and a whole bunch of other people’s as well

nano_2006_winner_small.gifThe last thirty days have been spent undertaking a truly grueling task, one that happens to fall upon me every year at this time. I’m speaking, of course, of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo to those in the know). I finished my 50,000 words just moments ago, on this very computer, then promptly went to put dinner in the oven. Again, I’ve been handsomely rewarded with a full set of icons (better looking than last year’s) and a charming PDF certificate I can print out for myself.

I took a minute to look over my post-mortem from last year’s event, the first that I managed to complete, and found that most of the things I said there held this year, despite the fact that I’ve been writing professionally for nine months now. There are still days where I feel like I can’t produce an intelligible sentence, and I still hate writing the word “turned” (add to that any form of the word “look”).

While I have reached the requisite length for the contest, the novel itself is only about halfway done, if my previous efforts are any indication. This is the third and final book in a series which I began to write, in its earliest form, more than seven years ago. I think I’ll save recollections on that long and arduous journey for when I complete this volume, probably some months hence.

What have I learned from this past month? It’s even harder to find time to write when you’re employed (even when—or perhaps especially when—said employment consists of writing). That said, if my notes on last year are accurate, I managed to finish about the same time, with around five plus hours to go before the deadline. I also seemed to have paced myself slightly better, having written around 4500 words today, rather than the 6000 I pumped out on the penultimate day last year.

One difference from last year was that I got to add a couple of writing buddies this time, my mother and my boss). While it was handy to be able to pace myself against them, and occasionally discuss things with them, the whole thing still remained mainly a solitary task.

Writing wise, did I learn anything? Certainly. My ideas for this book being somewhat less fleshed out than last year’s, I ended up skipping around quite a bit, moving ahead to chapters that I had a better feel for. One of my two main characters’ plot line came very easily; the other was like pulling teeth and it needs substantial revision (probably involving tossing out whole chapters). But writing’s a process, and editing is part of that process, though I may leave it until I’ve at least finished a rough draft.

Finally, I’ve made no more progress on getting any of these books published, but that’s something that’s high on my list for the coming year. Of course, there’s plenty of other stuff to deal with in the next couple months, including the holidays and quite a bit of travel for both work and pleasure. But I’ll still be finding time to write, and hopefully to start submitting some more of my fiction (and perhaps non-fiction as well).

Once again, I own thanks to family and friends who put up with me through this ordeal. I’m looking forward to finishing this story sometime in the next year, perhaps just in time to start with a wholly new idea for next year’s NaNoWriMo.

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Congrats Dan!

Before I saw the abbreviation in the image you included, I thought “NaNoWriMo” was an inside joke referencing “SAIELMeMo” (to which I may have added some letters), the mnemonic device suggested to remember the attributes in a role-playing game that Dan and Evan made together in 8th grade.

So: congrats again. How’d your mother do? (Say hi to the folks for me.)

Oh, now I have to see if I can remember: SAIELMeMo was…Strength, Agility, Intelligence, Endurance, Luck, Mechanical, and Movement? We’ll have to check with Evan..

[…] November: I travel to New York City to cover a preview event for the Consumer Electronics Show and not long after am asked to cover the full 1.7 million square foot, 2700 exhibitor conference for Macworld and Playlist. By myself. I complete NaNoWriMo for the second year running by passing 50,000 words in my third novel (the final in the trilogy). […]

[…] I looked back on my wrap-up posts from 2005 and 2006, and found that last year I wrote this: I’m looking forward to finishing this story sometime […]

[…] what the past five years of NaNoWriMo have taught […]



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