Come along for the ride as I work my three-year plan to buy a house, get published, and get my life out of the "Slow Lane."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sliding across the Nano Finish Line, Slow Lane Style


Well, I did it. Last night I dragged myself across the finish line during the very last half hour of NaNoWriMo 2012. My official word count came in at just over 52,000 words. I'm not quite sure how that happened, because by my own count I should have come in at around 50,500 or so. I might have accidentally copied-and-pasted part of my last chapter twice when validating, but I'm not sure. All I know is I did it. I stayed in the game and I crossed the finish line, despite life constantly trying to get in the way.

I wish I could say I produced a complete draft of a novel, but I didn't. I started out with one idea, then switched to another. In reality I was starting over completely, halfway through, but keeping my original text for purposes of word count. So in the end although I did write the requisite fifty thousand words during November, they weren't all part of the same story. But you know what? I'm okay with that. My goal this year wasn't so much to write a novel as it was was to prove to myself that I can still do this with three little kids in my life.

Yet I almost didn't make it. After the very difficult events of Thanksgiving weekend I very nearly gave up. I worried I had lost too much time. I felt defeated. But then after lying awake thinking about it for two nights in a row, I decided I wasn't going to go down without a fight. It wasn't easy and it meant getting up extra early and going to bed extra late, but I buckled down and got back in the game. Once I had made that decision the story flowed, the words appearing from reserves I didn't even know I had.

In the end I made it across the finish line with a Slow Lane twist. At about 10:30 p.m. a neighbor started banging on our front door, as if she were trying to batter it down. She has some issues and, I suspect, was off her meds. Whatever the reason she was insisting - loudly and aggressively - that we were doing things to her car and trying to choke her with gasoline fumes. To thwart us in doing these things she had built a giant barricade around her car in the driveway with trash cans, one of which had tipped over somehow. She took this to mean that we were at it again and came pounding on our door to have it out with us over these supposed high jinx of ours. So in the middle of Nano I had to call our landlord and ask for help to defuse this very awkward, somewhat scary situation. I swear, I think I wrote the last three chapters on pure adrenaline after that.

So what comes now, post-Nano? Well, I've made some lovely new Wrimo friends who I hope to continue to keep in contact with. I would like to keep going with my revised story idea, see if I can't produce a full first draft before year-end. And between now and next NaNoWriMo 2013 I know I need to do something to improve my craft, not to mention overhaul my spotty grasp of grammar and punctuation. My life changed so much this year I don't even dare imagine where I'll be or what I'll be doing at this time next year. All I know for sure is when November rolls around, I'll be writing.