Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in My Writing | 3 comments

NaNoWriMo 2012 is over.

I’m so tired.

But…

There’s always that thrill when you cross 50,000 words and see the whole staff of The Office of Letters and Light cheering for you on the winner page. That will never get old. I also wrote more this month (overall across several projects) than I did any other month of the entire year which is awesome and, in a way, the point of NaNoWriMo for us career writers. In general, I love NaNoWriMo and all the great community that it brings. I’m a lifer.

There’s also an extra thrill in finishing this year since I started a week late (thanks to Hurricane Sandy) and was writing with a variety of distractions physical as well as mental. With the exception of one day when I took a few hours and wrote on my own time, every single word I wrote this year for NaNo was written in a write-in (online or off). I like that little factoid because it really shows that you don’t have to go it alone, you can write the entire 50k with nothing but the support of the community in a few random hours here and there throughout the month and without having to take any time away from your day job to do it.

Not gonna lie, feeling a bit like a boss for finishing under duress this year. 🙂

On the flip side, this year’s victory definitely feels off somehow.  For starters, though I was excited about the project that I was working on at the start, I realized that it was much more massive than I’d first realized. Instead of crossing the finish line with a completed book, I’m looking at less than a quarter of it which is a bit discouraging. And while normally I’d still push like a maniac to finish the whole book, this year I literally wrote until I hit 50k and just stopped because I felt like I deserved a break, darn it.

The second thing was that I had so much going on in my personal life and with work that this was the first year where I really just wanted my novel to be done with even before the month began. Usually I really enjoy the writing process, savor it but this year it was just like, ugh, let’s get this finished. Some of it was also just the physical issues of trying to sit up and write when my body was in pain or I was dizzy or sick so it added an annoying dimension to word wars where I was just writing to distract myself until I was allowed to stand up and get away from the dreaded chair. I hated feeling that way and it negatively effected my writing, not to mention the whole NaNo experience.

The other thing that made this year feel off was there was much more whining than I feel like I’ve ever heard before which really sucked a lot of the fun and enthusiasm out of my month. I’m sure it didn’t help that I was so uncomfortable and overworked myself but never said anything to anyone outside of my husband and still completed my 50k. There’s something about suffering in silence that really reduces your patience for people who just want to sit around and make lame excuses.

There are excuses… and excuses if you know what I mean. I could give you a long and impressive list of why this month, nay, this year, kicked my butt and so could just about everyone. With a few excepts like a medical disability, no one is living some magically easier version of life than anyone else. That sounds really harsh but when someone spends the entire freaking month complaining and making excuses for why they should be given extra time (something many people asked for which has never happened before this year) or whatever all I can think about is the fact that their word count hasn’t changed from day one and maybe if they used a little of the time they spend whining to sit down and actually do some work, they’d be farther along.

I’m not talking about people who give it their all and fall short, those people are tops with me because they legitimately tried. I’m talking about the people who act like martyrs because, well, they have a full time job or lost power for a week or have a spouse they need to cook for so it’s harder for them and it’s just like, seriously? What do you think the rest of us are doing? We have all that same exact stuff and often more! And we managed to finish or at least give it a very solid try without whining so what’s your problem?

I think the other reason this gets me so worked up is because, as an ML, it’s my job to be a cheerleader. When my emails are like, “Just give it your best and keep working until the end no matter what your word count is!” and I get back replies that are all like, “I’m going to just quit because I’m 500 words behind. :-(“. So then I’m all, “There’s still three whole weeks left, plenty of time to make up those 500 words Rah Rah Rah!” and sometimes that works but most of the time they just Eeyore me back with more lame excuses and I want to scream. Especially because it takes literally 15 minutes to write 500 words. Heck, it actually only takes under 30 hours to write the whole 50,000 words when they give you 30 days and I think the main reason that people fail is that they have it in their heads that writing it will take So Long so they never start when, in reality, if they just sat down and did it, they’d be done before they knew it.

I apologize for that rant. I had to be so upbeat and positive to all these Negative Nellies all month that it has crushed my spirit. I’m hoping this was just a weird overly negative year because of the hurricane and things will get back to normal next year. I can deal with whiners as long as it’s a normal amount of them. When they swarm, it’s just too much.

Anyway…

You can’t really read the little Venn diagram in the winner badge above but I love this year’s winner artwork. I actually bought myself the Winner T-shirt for the first time in the history of my doing NaNo, that’s how much I like it. Here’s the artwork for the shirt:

30 days. 50,000 words. 0 excuses.

So badass.

(It reminds me of my favorite Script Frenzy banner, the one that read, “30 days. 100 pages. April. Are you in?”)

It also just sort of sums up what I wanted to say to everyone who was driving me nuts this month.

That said, despite my rant above, there were a lot of great moments this year and a lot of fun. We had record turn-out at many of our events online and off which meant a lot to me as the ML because of how much this program has grown locally since I took it over. We had a bunch of new library partners this year that I look forward to working with in the future and I got a ton of very sweet messages from participants thanking me for various elements of what I do as an ML. I volunteer what often feels like far too much time each year to this event and, while I’d still do it if no one cared, it is certainly nice to be appreciated.

So I cross into December 1st with mixed feelings. I am at once sad to see NaNoWriMo go and glad it’s over. I am at once excited to have won and exhausted by this month.

But, you know me, I’ll be back again next year no matter what.

How did your 2012 NaNoWriMo go?