About four and a half weeks ago, I made a split decision. It had been months since I had done this process, the act of taking a rough outline but otherwise just jumping headfirst into something huge without knowing for sure if it was going to work or crash and burn.
You see, I never make split decisions. My process is to carefully analyze the situation, take a while to internalize all possible routes, and then pick the best (usually ending up to be the most logical) decision.
I’d attempted nanowrimo for the first time only last year, and it had been a huge flop. I wasn’t going to do it again. It wasn’t for me. And then about two weeks into October, I realized that I’d been whispered at by the art for a while, the call of November beckoning. And then that was it. I had to do it.
So I carefully wrote out my outline, structured this incredible sequel to the novel I had finished over the summer and had gone through my first round of editing. I was all set; I even had a first chapter drafted. And then I saw in my older documents the project I’d failed to write the year before. I opened it, meaning to only read the first chapter, but then was flooded with the old spark that I’d had with this story. I poured over the 30,000 or so words I’d written, and then realized that that sequel wasn’t what I wanted for NaNo. I wanted something that I could dive into, head first, not even knowing if the idea would succeed. So about three days before nano started, I changed my plan entirely, decided to grab the material I hadn’t seen in a year, and just run with it.
I think you know the story from there, if you’ve read my weekly updates this month. And now November is over and December is calling in an entirely different way that may or may not be akin to sleigh bells. But since there was about half a week of November left, I have one last update for you all.
I WON NANOWRIMO 2016!!!!🎉🎉🎉🎉
I’m so ecstatic about this, I can’t even believe it happened. It all feels so surreal. I guess that’s one of the things that I love about writing; in the moment it can feel tedious and painstaking, but when you look back and see how far you’ve come it’s worth every minute.
(I’ve been waiting all month to use that gif XD)
I haven’t written a word since November 30th, which I’m okay with because phew, my fingers and brain need a break! But I’m still not done with the story yet! I’m almost in act 3, and actually the point that I left off on, there was this huge plot twist that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t in the outline, but I suppose it was in the cards or something, because it just fit. So now I think I’m going to have to go back to my outline and restructure it a bit. It’s happened before. I usually have a plan ahead of time, but then I also make changes along the way if the situation calls for it.
I suppose the thing I learned this week – and really all last month – was that you (I) can do anything you put your mind to and put in the work for. Notice the subtle difference between the two. You can dream big, but you have to be willing to work as hard as that dream calls for. That’s what I’ve been doing for five years now; planning, dreaming, but also doing; getting to the keyboard and writing and not telling myself that I can’t do it. I guess technically I already knew this all along, but every time I accomplish a goal that I had put so much effort into, it surprises me.
What’s next? I’m just going to keep writing. I think nanowrimo finally gave me the push I needed to be passionate about this story again. I’ve been thinking about the future a lot recently, how exactly I want to get my writing out there in the world. But that’s a long ways away…
So to all you who participated in NaNoWriMo 2016: you did it! Even if you didn’t reach the 50k goal, you did it. You wrote something. You did more than a lot of people can say, because you had a dream but you actually did something about it. You put in the work for it. And to that, I say well done.
Farewell NaNoWriMo 2016!