The Sixth Year: How I Won NaNoWriMo (Again)

If you ask me how I managed to write 50,000 words in 30 days this year, don’t expect a concrete answer. As chronically organized as I tend to be (or perhaps, only as you might perceive me to be), there is no method to my madness when it comes to my writing. So is the title of this post deceiving? Probably. Do I care? Hm…not really.

You’ll have to excuse my out-of-character apathy. I did end up cramming a decent amount of words into my last day of NaNo (I finished on the 29th, because as you’ll learn in a second, I really couldn’t drag it out any longer), but for the first time at least in a few years, I found myself wanting to continue writing anyway. I actually stopped in the middle of a “chapter” (more like a scene, in my head) because I had been writing on-and-off all day and once I finished, I knew I needed to be done. My wrists started hurting, which hasn’t happened since the summer before my sophomore year, when I did that whole write-a-novel-in-two-weeks thing. If you’re a first-time visitor here, that just went completely over your head. I apologize. But I must move on.

Roar, I hate tangents. The point is, I stopped when I really didn’t want to. And of course, being in college and living the absolutely insane life I live (don’t ask), I had to put my novel away and shift all my focus back to school and my internship. I really didn’t get much done over Thanksgiving break, which was why I didn’t have time to write my typical “I won NaNo and I’m awesome” end-of-November post. (I really don’t think I’m all that awesome, don’t worry.) See, there’s this thing called The Week Before Finals Week. And for me, it is the busiest, most trying week of the entire semester. I have stayed up past midnight every night since Tuesday and overslept, straight through my alarm, twice. Yes, this is my life.

You must also understand that I usually wake up around 4am. Routine is essential in this 21-year-old brain.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done plenty of writing since I hit 50,000 and validated. One 8-page paper, the final installment of a 30-page paper (what?), a critical article summary …. I think the worst part about last weekend was sitting in the car on the way back home from my grandparents’, knowing when I went back to school the next day, I was likely not going to get a break until the next weekend. Even more frustrating, I started thinking about this other idea for a trilogy I’ve had floating around in my head since the summer before my junior year. I got really excited about it, too, before I remembered I can’t work on it. Not until this semester is over, anyway.

But going back to NaNo – how? How, in this full credit load of a semester, with the addition of my internship, grading chemistry homework and writing so many health-related articles I’ve sometimes felt like my head was going to explode, did I squeeze a good portion of a novel in? Really, I don’t know. I had to give myself a 2,000-word limit per day, so that I would not take up too much time writing, but also so that if there was a day or two when I absolutely had no time (and there were a few), it wouldn’t set me too far back. There were days I really struggled to keep going. There were days I really struggled to force myself to stop. But that’s typical NaNo psychology. You really just have to roll through it. Sometimes you’re going with the flow and sometimes you’re going completely against it.

Two months out of every year I dedicate  a good segment of my life each day to working on a novel. Because I’m in school about an average of 9-10 months out of the year (thank you, summer classes and a double major, for that twist), I can’t just write novels all the time. I could, but I would probably fail all my classes. That would not be okay. These two months are extremely important to me. So I guess, if you did ask after all, I would have to say it’s because to me, November means words, glorious words, and lots of them. And that’s what gets me through fall semester, every year.

Why do I write? I’ve told you a thousand times: it’s part of me. Without it, I would break into pieces.

After the week I’ve had, my wrists are, once again, not happy with me. So I must be kind to them, even if for no reason other than the fact that I like having hands, and if they, like, fell off or something, well that would just be quite unfortunate.

But seriously though. I really like my hands.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

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