So I emerged victorious from Nanowrimo 2011.
This was the toughest year for me, though. Actually, maybe not…2010 was the toughest, because my computer caught a virus, crashed, and took everything with it one week into the competition.
The computer crashing was not what did me in, though. I did that to myself. I threw in the towel, convinced that there was no way I could recover from such an event. It depressed me, seeing how well I had killed 50,000 words in 2008 and 2009, to remove myself from the Nanowrimo world.
This year, I came with that residual hunger from 2010. I had cheated myself of a victory, and I was not about to let that happen again. I came in with a bulldogged determination usually reserved for the Olympics. I hit the ground running on November 1st a 12:00am and did not stop.
Okay, that’s not true.
Honestly, I took entire days off during this competition. I got stuck at times. I spent Thanksgiving in Vegas…checking out Korean pop stars. I was sick. I got burned out. I had outside commitments. I had nights out dancing. I wasted time on the internet. I questioned my sanity for even thinking I could do this.
But I wrote on.
Half the time, I was telling myself just how much the writing sucked. I had plot holes everywhere, and plot bunnies were living in them. My hands cramped. My characters kept throwing me plot boomerangs that I had to catch before they twirled back around and smacked my characters in the face. I had to fight the urge to look up every fact I used to be sure it was accurate. I questioned my ability to write.
But I wrote on.
If I missed a day (or two), I pushed myself to make up for it. I picked theme music for the novel, pretty much anything from the Metal Gear Solid video game series (EPIC music!), and I listened to it whenever I got stuck. I always set my daily goal a little higher than what was suggested, to create a surplus. I gave myself little treats when I reached a benchmark. If something popped in my head, no matter where I was, I wrote it down. I met the young men who inspired the characters in the novel and got to know some of their mannerisms and personalities (this was research, I swear).
And I won.
It all comes down to this: If you truly believe that you can win, you will. If you truly believe that you will fail, you will.
Nanowrimo is a battle against yourself, and you are your most dangerous opponent. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know that you are a sucker for Adult Swim. You know that you dread writing death scenes (or love scenes, or that scene where the antagonist has to explain his plans in a way that doesn’t come off as a monologue). You know that you came into Nanowrimo already unsure of yourself.
That is who you fight against every November that you accept the epic challenge.
For those of you who won, I suggest you avoid that book for about a month. Seriously. Don’t look at it. Put on your 2012 To Do List. Spend December writing something else and/or spending time with everyone you neglected in November.
For those of you who didn’t win, do the same.
I hope everyone grew from the experience. Now, enjoy the holidays and look back with amazement that you even attempted Nanowrimo. 🙂