NaNoWriMo 2012: Winner! Winner! Winner!

December 19, 2012

Don’t ask me what it’s about, but I did it. I did it! I wrote a 50k-word novel (50,369 to be exact) in 30 days – the month of November – spurred on by the wonderful organization, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

What happened in November with my writing is a perfect testament to the ability to do something so much larger than you thought possible, if your focus remains on taking one small step at a time. Or, one word at a time. And then, of course, repeating that step over and over and over again.

50,000 words divided by the thirty days in November meant I had to average 1,667 words per day to stay on track.

Ha! Haha. HA HA HA.


I was perfect for six whole days until I faltered. Then, a few days later, I faltered again. And then Thanksgiving week hit and, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

I found myself staring at a statistic on my NaNoWriMo profile page late at night on November 25th.

Words Remaining: 20,000

To finish, I had to average almost 4,000 words per day. I had serious doubts. How was I supposed to write that much in a day when I hadn’t been able to handle writing 1,667? And I didn’t just have to have one big day of 4,000 words, I had to repeat it five days in a row.

Earlier in the month, I figured out that I was able to crank out the 1,667 words in about an hour if I knew what I wanted to write. If I sat down in front of my computer and didn’t know what was going to happen next with my story, that one hour often sretched to two. Needless to say, 4,000 words was going to take a solid three to four hours a day to complete.

Sunday night was when I sat down and took stock of where I stood. I had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to get the thing done. Midnight on Friday, November 30th was the finish line. I laced up my mental sneakers. I locked my fingers together and stretched my arms out in front of my body, hopping up and down a couple times to clear my mind and calm my nerves. This race was gonna hurt, but I had to do it. It was go time.

I ignored the dishes, let the laundry pile up, and didn’t even blink when my inbox hit stratospheric levels. And damnit if I didn’t tackle those 4,000 words every day that week and slam them into the turf. Those words – those poor, poor words – they didn’t know what the hell hit ’em.

Sorry for the swear words. I think.

I’m still not really sure how it happened. I look back on that week in awe at my focus. An issue with the way I have designed my life – freedom to work on what I want, when I want – is that I pursue many interests. In a single day I could be attending Kindermusik with my daughter, scheduling a homes tour for several prospective rental properties, prepping dinner, walking through my nieghborhood and Instagramming photos of pretty trees, interviewing a startup founder for Silicon Prairie News via email, doing laundry, Skyping with a Vemma team member to share how the three people sitting in their living room can make $1000 in the next week if they jumped at the opportunity, and watching American Pickers with Hubz and a glass of garnacha.

I’m a little, umm, scatterbrained.

Focus, as I’ve mentioned before, is something I am frequently lacking.

That last week of November, though. Hoo-boy. That focus was award winning. It was no-fear, I-don’t-care-what-doesn’t-get-done, people-believe-in-me-and-darnit-I’m-not-letting-them-down focus.

My laptop was open, ready and waiting, every minute that I was awake. And that’s exactly what it came down to. Minutes. If I focused on the hours per day required, I was convinced it would never happen. So instead, I focused on the minutes. I focused on one word at a time.

What happened astonished me. On Monday, I wrote 2,000 words before dinner, then the remaining 2,000 after my punkin went to bed. On Tuesday and continuing the rest of the week, all 4,000 were done before late afternoon. 4,000 words. Before the credits on Dr. Oz show!

It turns out, if you have a hairy, scary enough ambition, a very defined way you’re going to accomplish it, and an environment set up for your success, your days can just ooze with productivity.

I wrote a 50,000 word novel during the month of November for National Novel Writing Month 2012. Booyah.

Next up? Reading this son of a gun and figuring out what the heck I wrote. It should be interesting.

“I hate writing. I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker


Question for you, are you willing to temporarily shut out everything in order to focus on something huge? What would that something be?
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