Final Day, Final Thoughts

Firstly, congratulations to all you who reached the 50,000 word goal today (or earlier in the month). You are gods among men.

I didn’t finish. I didn’t even get halfway. My piece stopped at the grand total of 22,244 words. They are words that I will probably never look at again.

I’d like to list a few possible reasons as to why I didn’t finish. This isn’t an attempt to make myself feel better…at least, I think it isn’t. I’m not so good with psychoanalysis, so it may refer to some (not so well) hidden wish to justify myself.

As someone who is used to pushing towards success, even when that success is hate-fueled, grueling and yields terrible results, I kind of want to know why this year was different. And I came up with the following reasons. Maybe these are reasons that others can relate to as well.

1. The Thesis of Doom. This one is obvious. I am a champion freak-outer, and I have been alternately relaxed and panicked about my thesis for the past six weeks. It didn’t help that I think I’ll be changing a significant portion of it to reflect some new discoveries. I know that Nanowrimo is designed for people who don’t have all day to write, but sometimes when you’re swamped with work, you wade and wade and wade…and find more swamp. For me, that’s just how things were this month.

2. I didn’t have the proper motivation. What was the point of writing 50,000 words? For me, not much. Because, in every other year, I’d written junk while hoping for gems, this year I decided to take a different approach and attempt to hone my novel-writing skills without publication as that end goal. As a result, when I started on November 1 I knew that a) my prose would probably be terrible and b) I didn’t want to fix it. So why put in the effort of so many words in such a short span of time? Earlier in the month I wrote a post in which I stated that the point of Nanowrimo is to write a novel, not to publish one. I stand by that, but  once I realized that I wasn’t trying to write something even vaguely publishable, something in me kind of gave up. Really, there was no point.

3. Finishing things seems to be my kryptonite. This is a problem that I’d better get over before I need to hand in my thesis. But it’s true. When I was in high school, I wrote three finished manuscripts in about a year and a half. One of those was for Nanowrimo. Now, I only start things, get sidetracked, and never come back to them. My Nanowrimo novel of two years ago was a completed manuscript, but I cringed whenever I went back to edit it. And since then I haven’t written anything of length that has a beginning, a middle and an end. That’s going to be my next obstacle in writing – once I get the thesis of doom out of the way.

4. I had no competition. I hate to admit it, but in certain ways I can be extremely competitive. I don’t like having a lower grade than my classmates (the same grade is fine), and I don’t like failing when others achieve, particularly when I am certain that I can do it. What drove me to complete Nanowrimo the very first year that I participated was the knowledge that one of my classmates had finished halfway through the month. Part of me just couldn’t bear the idea that she could win and I couldn’t. So I did. This year, the social part of Nanowrimo didn’t work out so well for me, for a number of reasons. And the nanoers that I did have contact with weren’t going to finish either. So I didn’t feel the pressure to do it myself.

So, I didn’t finish Nanowrimo this year, and I’m okay with that. I’ve always known that some years I’ll finish, and some I won’t. And I learned some things about myself along the way that will hopefully lead to a more productive Nanowrimo next year.

Now, we can go back to our regularly scheduled programs, read books, write at a leisurely pace, and dream fondly of next year.

Happy End of November, everyone!

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Day Twenty-Three

Whew. It’s been a long time since I was on here. Comparatively, anyway.

Guys, I have come to grips with the fact that I won’t be finishing my novel this year. I think I am at peace with it. If not, you’ll see some spectacular word counts in the next few days…but I’m not even at 25,000 words. So I get to make up the other 27,756 by November 30?

I could do it, in theory. Stranger things have happened. But let’s not get too optimistic here.

I’ve been ruminating on exactly why I am likely to fail this year. More specifically, I’m ruminating on where exactly I can place the blame so that it lands on someone else. Because at the end of the day, I have some issues as a writer that I need to work on.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – I’ve still got 6 days!

Mood: resigned (and sick, and sick of working)
Word Count: 22,244 (not bad for a month’s work, really)
Music: Trollolo song (blame my boyfriend)

Day Twenty

Well, I promised myself that I would post once a day throughout November as part of a way to track my progress. For the first time in the month, I missed a day yesterday.

It’s okay. Nothing happened, really. I met with my thesis professor and took today off to do a little writing. Unfortunately, I truly did do only a little writing. I hardly got any sleep last night and I have been sick for a few weeks now, so I wasn’t exactly my usual perky self. But enough with the excuses! I’m back on the horse, and will begin again with my posting of word counts. They’re going to be pretty dismal, I think. At least until I find a day to do a whooooole lotta writing.

Now I am going to try to drown myself in ginger tea. All that longhand writing I did today will have to be typed up tomorrow.

Actually, there’s an interesting question. When I took out my notebook at the cafe this afternoon, my writing buddy laughed at me. But who else prefers writing longhand sometimes? I find that even though I go slower, I can get into a groove more easily because I’m not being distracted by facebook, emails, skype, webcomics or kittens. Or sloths. Sloths should be the new kitten meme.

On the other hand, when I type up all that stuff I wrote today, I’m going to be highly disappointed that it didn’t reach even a thousand words. I mean, it was four solid pages!

Happy writing, guys.

Day Eighteen

I have forgotten how to spell. I spent five minutes looking at the title of this post, wondering if that really is how you spell 18. This is what writing a thesis does to you, people! You spend all your time being unwashed and contemplating blog posts.

Sounds kind of like being a hipster/aspiring writer.

Okay, enough humour for now. Tomorrow I find out the true meaning of my thesis, whether the last six weeks of my life have been a total waste or something worth hanging on to and building up. And I even got some writing done today. Hey, my internet went out soon after I got home, and I was an entire half hour without it. I had to do something. It’s just nice that the something I did was productive.

I also cleaned my room, in a half-assed sort of way. Do they give out gold stars for days like this?

Anyway, tonight’s post is necessarily short because 1) I haven’t written much in ages, and have run out of things to say and 2) I have a meeting tomorrow morning that decides whether my thesis is going poorly, or REALLY poorly. At least my thesis advisor is a nice guy. Though he’s a little out of touch with reality, so he may expect me to have far more done than I actually have. Thus the options above.

Okay. Rant over for today. Write on, people!

Also, if anyone has inspirational stories, you can always link to them in the comments. I know I talk about hating on successful wrimos, but I don’t actually hate you guys. I love you. I only pretend to hate you ’cause I’m envious.

Day Seventeen

I guess this is technically the second day seventeen post, because I was stupid last night and labelled my daily post wrong. This is what happens when you try to write blog posts at 2 AM, people. After a full day of translating Ancient Egyptian.

My big day is Monday, so tomorrow is hopefully the last day that I’m going to be postponing my novel. Then I get to play the super exciting game of catch-up. I also get to discover the future of my thesis. So wish me luck for tomorrow and Monday! And good luck yourselves with all your writing projects!

Day Sixteen

Blech. I’m running out of steam.

And the problem is, I’m running out of steam in terms of everything I do. Thesis isn’t going as well as I’d like, novel is going just as nowhere as it was three days ago, I have little energy or interest for my job, and I don’t even want to cook dinner anymore.

November is a classic time in which we put a lot on our plate, because somehow it feels like the boring month. And for me, November has never, ever been boring. Finishing that novel has always been a challenge.

For all of you that are already finished (some people claim they know wrimos that can do all 50,000 words in a week or two), please go hide under a rock and stop making me feel inadequate.

Of course, it even says on the OLL blog that one of the points of Nanowrimo is that it’s for everyone, not just for people who magically have loads of time to work on a novel. People like me, in spite of having classes, jobs and outside commitments, finish every year and feel all the better for doing so.

But blech. Right now I just want it all to be over. Every aspect of my life, really. I am officially requesting a blank slate. Too bad life doesn’t work like that.

Thanks to everyone who’s been following along for the month. Hopefully things will get really interesting soon. In a good way.

Day Fifteen

Well, my fellow wrimos, we are halfway through the month and therefore supposed to be 25000 words in. And I am roughly 7000 words behind.

To be honest, I’m not too concerned. Last year I was behind until day 29. My first Nanowrimo, when I was 17, I was so far behind that the only way I could catch up was to write 30,000 words on Thanksgiving day. I wrote 20,000 in the morning, went off to Thanksgiving dinner, and wrote another 10,000 when I came back. True story. And I wonder why my novels are so bad.

I’ve been telling myself that next week, after I’ve met with my professor and made my big professory life-changing decisiony things, I’ll be able to write a lot more. It’s what I say every week, every time November rolls around, with little variation. I’ll always have time tomorrow.

The old excuse that we just don’t have time is the easiest way to legitimize giving up on Nanowrimo. We look at our slap-dash opening chapters and just don’t want to devote the energy to finishing them. But the point of Nano is to make time.

I’ll be doing a lot of time-making in the evening this weekend. Hopefully I’ll be in a better position by Sunday evening than I am now.  Good night, fellow wrimos!