Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reflections on NaNoWriMo 2011

So, December is upon us once again, and that mean not only the beginning of the holiday season, but the end of NaNoWriMo. Although part of me is sad that it's over, most of me is glad; reaching 50k was a struggle this year and required lots of late nights and long writing sprints, and I don't know that I could have taken it for much longer. As it is, I'm definitely going to need a week or so to recover, though I do want to get back to my novel before too much time passes so I can finish it.

So, if NaNoWriMo was so exhausting this year, why am I even a little bit sad that it's over? For many reasons, which I can sum up in one statement: because it's awesome. This is my third year winning NaNoWriMo, and it feels just as good as my first. There's an amazing sense of achievement and accomplishment that only comes from reaching a seemingly impossible goal.

And while reaching the 50k destination feels AMAZING, the process of getting there is even better. In what other month does advice from famous authors arrive right in your inbox? When else do you fully appreciate the amazing team of OLL staffers, who handle the crazy-busy job of running the office, write their own novels, and still make time to shout out encouragement in the form of pep talks, blog posts, and videos? There are teams of designers creating book covers in less than 24 hours, caffeine-fueled word wars at all hours, and some of the best forums on the internet, all in one place. And we all have that writing buddy we barely talk to during the rest of the year but know we couldn't get through November without. (magicx_girl, I'm looking at you! Your messages and challenges were so much help during this novel - I don't know if I would have won without them. Thank you!)

You can summarize NaNoWriMo in one simple sentence: "You write a 50,000 word novel in one month." But really, it's so much more than that. It's being free with your writing, allowing yourself to let go; it's the amazing things that come out of your moments of despair, it's the incredible sense of community in the forums and the comfort of knowing that you're not alone. These are the things that make it such an amazing experience. These are the things that have made me come back every year since 2009, and will keep me coming back for years to come.


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