Finishing and Winning – Did that really happen?


Last post I talked about how I wasn’t going to do Nanowrimo due not only to my mixed feelings about it, but also because of the lack of time I have to use both hands on something as “frivolous” as writing.  But I couldn’t help feel the itch of my novel prickling beneath my skin, my characters voices whispering beneath the noise of the real world, asking when I was coming back to them.

It was then I had my epiphany.   I use voice-to-text for almost all my text messages these days and have begun using it for emails as well. I do this of course because of the whole no hands business. It is much easier to talk to a phone than to  attempt to text with the baby needing my hands and my focus. So it was November 1, and I thought well, why not use voice to text to work on my story?? Granted it would take a couple of extra steps to “complete” the process as I didn’t think I could use my wonderful writing app that I love so much, but I know Google docs well, and I had obviously already discovered that I can voice to text email.  So I figured I could email myself and transfer the words later.

Every morning since July, (OK almost every one, I’m not that awesome) I have been taking my baby girl out for a walk in her stroller.  We typically do about 3 miles a day walking coffeefirst thing in the morning.  She’s a morning person and I am not so in order to stay awake during her “happy hour” instead of lying on the bed wishing I could go back to sleep, we get up and go out.  This has also helped me lose weight and allows me to speak to other adult human beings, even just in passing which helps me a lot mentally.  But I digress.

So, again, its November 1.  I grabbed my headphones on the way out for my walk, plugged them into my phone, and started an email to myself.   I decided to skip the bits of my novel that are hard and that I’m a little stuck on right now and jump ahead to where I knew I could simply tell the story,  and I began telling it.   I got home that day, transferred my email to a Google doc and checked my word count.

I was over the recommended daily average to make it through NaNoWriMo!

I couldn’t believe it. That felt so good.  I knew I would still have problems with the averages and the goals, but getting back into my story was so wonderful I decided to go for it – I was joining the rebel camp.   For those of you that don’t know, being a “rebel” simply means you’re not following the original prescribed guidelines (Brand new novel, 50k goal of pure writing), but you are still joining the challenge of making massive, dedicated progress on your novel.   It means you can continue work on something you’ve already started and really that you can set your own goals, even though you won’t technically “win” if you don’t get 50,000 words.  So I decided to set a goal of 30,000 just for myself and keep going.

After that first day I was on a roll and found that I was coming home with over 2000 words a day, every day.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up at first, but it looked like I might actually be able to make it.

As most of you know, a phone’s AutoCorrect is far from perfect and sometimes downright absurd.  Once in a while when I had to re-awaken my phone after pausing to order my coffee or something, I would notice that my words were not being transcribed completely accurately.  I made a choice though.  I decided to soldier on, taking care with my diction and pausing my speech when there was a lot of background noise (it wreaks havoc on voice to text).  And I chose to keep going, without stopping, without editing, without worrying.  I simply told the story.

On November 22, 2017 I came to the point in my story where I actually said The End.

the end

Yes, I reached the end of my book.  I actually wrote the final chapter.  I had also written just over 45,000 words during the month that far. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself that day.  I was so excited and kind of weirded out at the same time.  I still had about 4500 words to go to make me a NaNoWriMo winner and I was looking forward to doing since it was now pretty much a sure thing.  But I also didn’t feel the pressure to get there. I don’t know if that’s because it was a sure thing or if it’s because I wrote my book, so who cared?

Arriving home from a completely unproductive Thanksgiving holiday and ready for my walk the next Monday morning I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Sure there were gaps in my story and I knew I needed to start there but my momentum was shot, and I had to go back and fill in spaces in a chunky funky manner.

In the end I muddled through.  I filled in small spaces in the story until I made 50,000 words.  I did it.  I won.   But it felt… anticlimactic I suppose is the correct word.  Though I am not sure that really covers it.

Maybe it would have felt bigger if I The End and 50k coincided.  I mean that is the point of Nano right?  But that would not have been real.

Maybe it would have felt better if I had had someone to share it with and be excited with.  The Congratulations email from the Nano site just did not do anything for me emotionally.  My friends were excited, by text, but that was all I had.

So I won NaNoWriMo 2017, and I wrote an entire novel.  And it was amazing.

I think.

I´m sure.

But it was 2 (crazy) months ago now and I am barely getting this post out, let alone finding time to work on those difficult bits to make the book complete.

I don´t really know how to feel.