Tomorrow is the end of National Novel Writing Month — well, I suppose one could continue writing in earnest until Wednesday, the “technical” end of the month. But on my end, I’m done.
Overall, I would say that the month has been successful for me. My goal was to use the event as a time management exercise — I never intended to attempt the goal to write 50,000 words this month. And as a time management exercise, it worked. I doubled the size of my still meager manuscript and got myself in the habit of writing every day (more often than not), which for me is a huge accomplishment.
There were some major speed bumps along the way, the worst of which was getting sick mid-way through the month. A week of being under the weather derailed my best-laid plans and forced me to reorganize everything in order to meet my non-writing obligations. After a week of being “off duty” due to illness, I couldn’t justify letting my job and family go so that I could write more often. I DID write, but it was in the background. I teach high school composition and literature and, to be honest, after spending nearly 20 hours meticulously evaluating my students’ writing this past week, I had little brain stength left to even think about my own story, much less string words together in any meaningful way.
My take-away after participating in NaNoWriMo is that I can and will commit to writing each day. If I can write 4 or 5 days out of 7, I will consider that a success for 2012. To help me stay motivated, I scored this handy gem of a Writer’s Diary from Barnes & Noble last week — an early birthday present to myself! I plan to keep a daily log of my writing, as well as a page count of my manuscript. That way I’ll be able to see where I need to step up my efforts a bit and by the end of the year, I’ll have a record of how far I’ve come.
I’m not sure whether I will participate in NaNoWriMo again next year. I’m not sure it matters. The lessons I’ve learned — especially about how to embrace my snail’s pace and to keep moving forward — are ones that I won’t soon forget.