So. December. Time to forget about crazy writing goals and move on to thinking about Christmas, right?
Well..... imminently. But first, as with all good things that end too soon, I need to have a NaNo post mortem.
Yes, I took a photo of my screen instead of a screenshot. I was half asleep!
To put these ramblings into context, I should point out that I've done NaNo twice before in the last two years, both times successfully.
For my first attempt in 2007 I was excessively keen and, with the help of a solid plan, a lot of late nights, and two weekends with my fingers glued to the keyboard, I managed to reach 50,000 words in 14 days. I should have used the rest of the month to write more, but no. I didn't write another word for about two months.
Last year, having learnt something of a lesson about burn-out, I decided to pace myself. I had an exciting idea to explore, but I started the month with only a main character and a 'concept' statement. The fleshing out of that concept into a fully-fledged plot over the course of the next 30 days was one of those organic miracles that only happens when you make yourself "just write". I finished only a couple of days ahead of schedule, but I wasn't fed up of writing.
So I know I can write 50,000 words in a month. Been there, done that. Nothing left to prove, in that respect.
This year I wanted a different challenge. This year I wanted to find out whether I could write well at that speed. Could I turn out 50,000 words and be proud to stand behind them? Could I generate 1667 words of solid first-draft material each and every day? And would I be completely exhausted by the end of the process?
It didn't help that I fell ill on the 2nd, so progress over the whole month felt painfully slow. I fell behind almost immediately and didn't catch up until the 20th. But on the other hand, I know there are some people who're happy to be behind until the 30th, and still make it.
I reached 50,117 on November 28th, and reached the end of my novel in the process (I was technically a NaNo Rebel this year, by putting my words towards an existing project).
On the whole, I'd have to say my 'quality' experiment was a success.
Of course, a first draft is always a first draft. It needs more work - lots of it. But it's writing of the same standard as my normal first drafts which, as I've mentioned previously, have actually been rewritten several times. I didn't try to stop myself editing and rewriting as I went along (I deleted hundreds of words) and nor did I do anything specifically to increase my word count (aside from sitting down and writing, obviously!).
Now I just have to decide which book to write next........