Nanowrimo 2015: there’s always next year

Despite the euphoric recklessness that I ended my last post with, let’s be serious. I’m not finishing my Nano novel by the end of Nano.

That’s because I’ve identified that what this story needs is more than 50k words, and while I’m not entirely averse to pulling an all-nighter to get it done, it’s a matter of brainpower. After being awake for X number of hours, you just run out of stamina and focus, and iterative and predictable as my current plan is, a plan is only good if you’re able to stick to it. It’s physiology, not craft, that I think is going to be my undoing; I just don’t think I have what it takes to write upwards of 20k words between whenever I get home from counselling tomorrow and 12:00 a.m. December 1.

That’s not to say things are going badly, though. Far from it. After re-binging most of Season 4 of Teen Wolf I finally made myself (continue to) sit down and write up my plan for the rest of the novel. And it’s fucking great. It’s predictable, it’s generic – it feels like every story I’ve ever known, and that’s exactly what I want it to feel like. I just need the ending to come together, and right now I’m thinking that maybe, actually, I can just leap that hurdle when I get to it, find it as I write my way towards it. I’m putting all of the learning I’ve done in the past 23 days into action, and it feels like it’s working already. I think I’ve accomplished what I set out to accomplish with Nanowrimo.

Except for the part where I “win”.

And that’s fine. 50k words is a very arbitrary – and small – word-count, and this is only my second Nano, the first one that I really devoted myself to and had a project that I was passionate enough about that I actually wanted to try and get it done quickly. I still think I can get it done quickly, like in the next 4-5 days, maybe even 3. But not 1. Today was planning, and even if I spend all day tomorrow writing I’m not going to get this novel finished.

Now, I might still “win” Nanowrimo, in that I might get up to 50k words before December 1. And if I do, then fantastic. I’ll upload whatever it is that I’ve got finished by that point and continue on my own – or just have it as a mark of pride that I crossed the 50k-word point without a shiny internet badge to prove it, and just write a post about it instead. I feel awkward about the thought of uploading an unfinished manuscript just to “win”, especially the thought that other people will then be able to read it in its incomplete form. But maybe that’s not how it works. Maybe I can update it and upload the completed manuscript when I eventually do finish it. Or maybe nobody can read it at all. I’m not quite sure how it all works.

Either way, I am going to finish this book, and I’m going to finish it this week. And considering that I didn’t even start Nanowrimo until day 6, technically I’m still going to finish a novel in a month – just not a calendar month. The important thing for me is that I am going to finish, I have actually learnt – or started to learn – the things I hoped that I would by participating in Nanowrimo, and that it’s all going to be done soon.

By the end of the week – and quite possibly before then – I will have completed my fourth novel. That’s enough for me to look forward to.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll surprise myself and get everything done tomorrow, calling upon reserves of stamina and focus I currently do not believe I possess.

Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

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