According to Word’s word count, I won NaNoWriMo 2016 about an hour ago. According to the website’s validation tool, I was still a few hundred short. But I just crossed the finish line with 500 extra words.
The story doesn’t end here.
I now have 70,000 words of a story I’ve been thinking about in some way for quite awhile, and probably another 50-70K until the story’s told the way I want it to be. And then I need to stop panicking and get to editing and querying (but that’s for another blog post).
I’ve had good and bad WriMo–and writing, in general–years. I’ve had days when I know exactly where things need to go, but can’t find the words; I’ve written 4,000 words in a day, only to come up for air and decide it’s shit. I’ve had days where the stars align and nothing distracts me and I push the internal editor away and just get work done. I’ve had great music-listening days that pump me up and get me to get the work done, and awful work days that get in the way of anything else.
But through all of that, I keep going. One of the most important things I’ve learned from NaNoWriMo is that you just keep writing, no matter what. You write through the shit and you take a day (or a week, or a month) off when you need it and you take care of yourself so you can get back to the words. November is always a fantastic motivator, but once you win the certificate and the month ends, the work doesn’t stop.
There’s a lot going on in the world that makes being “thankful” for anything this Thanksgiving kind of hard. I have the usual things on my list–family, friends, books to read, a roof over my head, a paying job in the field I love, a super awesome blog (ha).
But I think I’m most thankful for writing this year. I’m thankful that I’m capable of communicating with written language, especially when verbal communication fails me. I’m thankful for my ability to create. I’m thankful that I can keep the story going.
Congratulations to any of my fellow 2016 WriMo winners, and congratulations to those who participated this year, and congratulations to those of you who couldn’t participate, or decided to take this year off, or don’t like NaNoWriMo, or have never heard of it. You’re keeping the story going, guys, and I’m thankful for you, for putting in the work in one form or another.
Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s talk turkey (heh) in the comments.