I failed. Of that, there can be no doubt. I can, however, report good news.
On 1 November, I and a bunch of other people undertook a unique challenge: write a 50,000-word novel in the thirty days of November (why not the 31 days or August, May, or July?) . I entered the task with two simple goals: finish my 50,000 novel and get myself into a writing habit, something I had fallen out of in recent months. The task, while daunting, broke down into 1,1667 words per days. Imminently doable.
The first thing I had to figure out was when I was going to write in order to instill the writing habit again. The second day of November was a Monday. With my CSI: Miami recap duties for BSCReview.com, I knew I would have no time that evening (watch “Castle”; watch “CSI: Miami”; write recap). Thus, the natural alternative: Lunchtime. I took my PowerBook with me, ensconched myself in Starbucks, and wrote for an hour that first Monday. Word count: 1,880. Hog dog! I was rolling.
And I kept rolloing. Every lunchhour, I wrote. It got to the point where I couldn’t wait for noon so I could again sneak into the world of my character. (BTW, I’m writing the first novel-lenth adventure of Calvin Carter, the hero of my story published by Beat to a Pulp earlier this year.)
Then, one day, I had to work through lunch. Was that a miserable lunch hour but I made up for it later that night.
Unfortunately, the day job kept creeping up on my time and, more and more, I worked through lunch. Sucks, yeah, I know. I missed a day. Another day, I didn’t make the 1,667 word count. If there is one thing you can’t do with NaNoWriMo, it’s get behind. You get behind one day, unless you have a great day in which you write 3,200 words, you’re screwed.
I got screwed. I missed a few more days and fell farther and farther behind. Have to admit that was discouraging. Onward I pressed and onward the day job pressed. Day job won. Battle lost.
But, the wider war was won (how's that for alliteration?). I have instilled in myself the Writing Habit. Even when I knew that I’d never make the 50,000 words by 30 November, I still took my Mac to work with me. It was a pain sometimes as I also carried my work laptop as well. The lunch hour is now a glorious oasis of creativity for me. I continue to bring my Mac to my day job. At lunch, I close the office door or steal away to Starbucks or Rao’s and write. Boy, it is delicious, the coffee as well as the writing.
In addition, I’ve transformed my writing room at home. I’ve separated the writing desk (for longhand notes and writing) with my Mac desk (computer writing). The neat thing about the Mac desk is that it is, in reality, an old server desk, with shelves on both sides of a central post. And it’s adjustable. As a result, I can raise the keyboard and monitor and stand to write. I’m coming around that that way of creativity. Let me tell you: it’s fantastic. More on that in another column.
Cliché alert: I’m a loser but I’m a winner. I failed in my ultimate goal of a 50,000-word story. I’m a winner in that my writing habit has returned. I’m also a winner in that I know I’ll complete the novel early next year. And I’ll write more. Were this a scale, the balance would be tipped in my favor.
I’ll take it.
How about other NaNoWriMo’s out there. Did y’all finish?