There's a saying (I think it was something I actually heard in a Beatles song) that states, Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans. The same is true for a writer trying to finish his novel. During the process, you can count on this: life will throw many curve balls at you. The thing to do is to get up each day, take a breath, step back into the batter's box, and swing away. Some days you will strike out. Some days you will only make it to first base. But there are days when you will not only knock it out of the park, but you'll send a crushing grand slam into the bleachers and drive in all those other single-basers as well.
My 2011 NaNoWriMo experience was just like this. Some days I just didn't clock in the minimum 1,667 words. Those days were few, though, and all my other days made up for the process, especially the days when I clocked in more than two-thousand words. The items that krept into my life this time around? First, my daughter had a tonsilectomy. Personally, I have never had my tonsils removed, but I can tell you as a parent it has to be painful. My daughter is now at Day #7, and she's still in recovery. Suffice it to say, an event like this has a way of interrupting your plans.
The second thing that stood in the way of NaNoWriMo is so common that I might as well plan for it in the future: the holidays. As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, there is so much focus on family and food that all other plans need to sit on the bench... especially writing a novel. How do you tell your spouse that writing your masterpiece is more important than spending time with family? The answer is you don't. You go, you drink and eat, and you set your sights on picking back up later. I don't know why the creators of NaNoWriMo chose November to do this event. Maybe it's a way to see who is dedicated and who isn't. Thankfully, they didn't choose December. I believe the obstacles in that month would probably thin the herd of winners.
So, my NaNo goal was set back a day. Big deal. Last night I met my minimum at around forty-nine-thousand words. I looked at that and said, "There's no way I'm going to stop today when I'm so close to the finish line." So, I pressed on and moved past the ultimate goal: fifty-thousand words in thirty days. That's not to suggest that my novel is done. It's not. In fact, it's probably only two-thirds complete. But a finished novel in thirty days isn't the primary focus. Writing the minimum to be called a novel is.
With December just around the corner, and my other project (2011 Holiday Story Exchange) deadline just a couple weeks away, I'll probably slow down a little, and my novel will be finished sometime before (or maybe after) the first of the new year. But that's okay, too. My goal for 2011 NaNoWriMo is complete, I'm firmly on the path of my story and into the lives of my characters, and my finished novel is within my grasp.
Until next time...