Yay! I've done it, 50,000 words in less than thirty days, so I am feeling very happy right now; but that hasn't been how I've felt throughout November. Last year I loved, loved, loved the whole experience, I flew through 104,000 words and just had the best time, you can read more about my 2011 experiences here...
This year did not get off to the best start; I managed 800 words at midnight on 1st November and then proceeded to come down with a horrible cold that stopped me doing anything for over a week.
Day 7 I managed to write a little and then increased it slowly as I started to feel more human and the cotton wool of cold and ME shifted from around my brain. I wondered if there was any point, since I was nearly 10,000 words behind; but I didn't want to give up without trying, so I just did what I could, because I knew I had a story I desperately wanted to tell.
It's been more of a struggle; I've had to force myself to sit in front of the computer, unlike last year when I could barely tear myself away. The words have been dragged out of me a lot of the time, until I found my flow and out poured several thousand at a time. It was definitely stop and start, much more of a chore and there were days I wondered why on Earth I was bothering; but I'd set a goal and I don't give up easily.
I've learnt different lessons from 2011. I've realised that if I set a small goal and reach it I feel like a rock star. It's easier to focus on doing 2,000 words than working out how much of 50,000 I have left. Or how many days I have to do it in - that's just scary! It's a lesson I intend to apply to other big projects in my life.
I also learnt that it is possible to achieve big goals, even if they seem monumentally impossible and low-self esteem and doubt are whispering in my head to say there's no point, it's just too difficult. Nuh-nuh, voices you were wrong!
My novel isn't complete; but it's nearly there. I've written the end at least! It's going to take a huge amount of editing and re-writing; but that's okay. This year I realised I have to write things in long hand first and then go back and boil it down, reduce it to what I want.
I feel a little sad that the motivation of the NaNo deadline is over; but lying in bed last night, thinking back on the past month I got inspiration for another story. It won't be such a frantic experience; but hopefully the high from winning will carry me through for a few weeks at least.
Will I be doing NaNo next year? I hope so, because who knows what I'll learn from it. One thing's for sure, no two years will ever be the same!
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.