Winning at NaNoWriMo, Losing at Life


So, I finished NaNoWriMo, edging past the 50 000 word mark — just barely! — at about 9 pm on November 30.  My total word count was 50 169 and at least 40 000 of those were just “fuck”.

I’m kidding, kinda.

I’m actually pretty impressed with myself.  I managed to finally do what I’ve been meaning to do for years and years.  This is the longest thing I’ve ever written and probably the most coherent.  I also seem to have busted open a years-old writer’s block, established a writing habit, and shut down some of the negative statements I used to tell myself — messages like this shit sucks and you’re lying to yourself and writing isn’t a real job nor is it a good use of your time when you have budgies to clean up after.  As a result, writing has gotten easier and more pleasurable.  I get daily inspiration from regular things around me both for this story and new short stories, and I’m always on fire to write.

Plus, my husband has been super supportive and pushed me to finish, which gave me a new trust in him too.  I mean, I did trust him before, but I hadn’t really been open about my artistic endeavours.  He’s the type of guy who tinkers with car engines, not story plots.  The thing is, I don’t need him to be a writer (or even a reader) in order for him to show support and help motivate me.  Now I know that, whatever I decide to do with my time, he’ll be there and he’ll help me in whatever way he can.

My Nano project, temporarily titled Teen Angst and Necromancy, turned out to be a pretty interesting story, too.  I mean, it’s pretty good for something I randomly came up with at 3 in the afternoon standing in the middle of the library on November 1.  (Turns out Nano people have a nickname for derps like me — I’m a “pantser”, meaning I don’t plan and have no organizational skills, and my major writing strategy involves cheap wine, implausible events, and weird stuff I saw in some bizarre dream I had the other night.)  The only problem is that, while I have finished NaNoWriMo, I have not finished the story.  I feel like I’m smack in the middle of it, with no clue what my characters are going to do next and no idea how it ends.

So that’s all well and good, right?  Well, not so much.  While I’ve been succeeding at writing, I’ve been failing at everything else at my life.  At the beginning of November, I injured my neck and shoulder at work, so even typing at the computer was excruciating.  All of my new hobbies, like knitting, were pretty much off the table because it was so aggravating to sit there with my neck in a fixed position using repetitive movements.  Then, three weeks later, I managed to roll the truck I had just spent several thousands of dollars repairing and outfitting with sick new studded winter tires.  And now I have a back injury, and no truck.  Thanks, Highway of Tears!

My injuries have made it kind of tough to do basic things like sleep, cook food and clean my house.  I’ve managed to get it together enough to not live in squalor, but everything else is kind of suffering.  My husband has helped as much as he can, but he lives in a different city, and he could only take so much time off to help me.  So here we are, and not only do I not know the ending of Teen Angst and Necromancy, but I do not know how to continue with the plot that is… my life. (omg, so dramatic)

Anyway, it will probably work itself out.  The life part, I mean.  I will probably end up getting a used Subaru so everyone can make lesbian jokes at my expense, but it would be a vast improvement over all the accident prone/shitty car/hobo lookin’ jokes everyone already makes at my expense, so whatever.  As for the novel, I have not written one word on it since November 30, but I do intend to finish it in time to edit it in January and February.  My new friends from the NaNoWriMo group have proposed starting a writing club so that we can edit each other’s novels (they, too, are winners) and encourage others to join.  My strategy for the next 50 000 words is basically more booze, more random bullshit, and about 40 000 more f-bombs.  I think that is the secret to a manuscript that is truly winning.






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