Sometimes, you sprint over the finish in a burning bolt of glory.
And sometimes you kind of trip and fall backwards over it, still finishing the race. NaNoWriMo 2020 has come to a close, and somehow, I made it to the end. Was it a graceful finish? Maybe not, but I have 50k shiny new words and a renewed sense of enjoyment in my writing. What could be better than that?
(The answer is a detailed wrap. Trust me. And also read on, if you really trust me.)
Final Word Count
50,174 words. Somehow, in a flurry of dust, I slid across the finish line with ten minutes to go before December 1st.
Next year, I will do my writing before work, and not after. Learned my lesson on that front.
But despite changing up my project, diving into self-indulgent fanfic, and generally worrying about the quality of my writing versus the quality of my previous NaNo attempts, I have survived NaNoWriMo 2020. I wish I could say I thrived, but with the year this has been? Survival is pretty dang good, and you won’t convince me otherwise.
Favorite Moments of NaNoWriMo 2020
Normally, this is the part where I share a scene I particularly adored. This year, though, I want to talk about the moment I realize I wasn’t bound to my original idea. We compare ideas to lightbulbs suddenly going off, but I have to admit, it felt a lot more like getting bonked over the head with a mallet. Softly. By someone who loves you but also is tired of your crap.
I wish I’d realized this sooner, too. Maybe I wouldn’t have agonized so much at the end of October about whether or not I was ready for NaNo. Clearly, I’m ready for NaNo as long as I set my goals and prepare to stick to them. I slammed out 50k of mostly short fiction, after all! It’s just the idea that wasn’t ready, and that’s okay. If it takes more time to develop, give it more time! Work on something else that’s ready to be explored! There is never going to be one exact story to work on, and never going to be a punishment for failing to do so. (Unless you’re under contract and on a deadline, but we’ll leave that little argument alone for the sake of NaNo-related revelations.)
In half as many words, it was freeing to let my planned WIP go. I’ll revisit it when the time is right, but now I understand that I don’t have to force it onto the page like I’m trying to squeeze out the last bits of toothpaste in the tube. That’s a process that only ends in disappointment, every time.
Is this even a question? Of course I’ll try NaNo again next year! Maybe by then, I’ll be able to take my shelved idea for this year and really bring it to life the way I meant to the first time. In some ways, it seems unlikely, but that could easily change a few months from now. Good stories take time and thought, and I just didn’t couldn’t really give that this year.
Part of me feels silly saying “next year, next year,” like I’m putting something off. But then again, next year. Even if I don’t tackle NaNoWriMo 2021 with the idea I currently think I should, I’m still going to do it. And it will still be 50,000 fresh words on the page. What could be better than that?
I’ll probably still talk writing on Twitter, and you’re more than welcome to visit me over on the official NaNo site before next year’s attempt, if you’d like to connect! I hope those of you who’ve also participated found new words and new goals, whether you reached 50k or not. 💛