So, I quit Nanowrimo last week, after I'd reached 42,000 words. That's crazy, right? I mean, I had eight thousand words to go (have, I guess, since it's not midnight, yet), and I could certainly have made. I still could, in the nine hours I have left.
But I'm not going to.
It just hit me a few days ago, right before Thanksgiving, that I wasn't going to finish. The thing is, I started Nanowrimo to knock out a draft of the Next Book and I did that. In 42,000 words.
HAHAHAHAHA! you may be saying. "Jay, there's no way that you have a viable YA book in 42,000 words." You're right. But I wasn't writing a final draft, I was writing a first draft. And I'm a reviser, not a planner, so that means that what I actually got was 42,000 words of a possible path that the book might take. The actual draft of the book that's fit to show anyone (think two to three drafts from now) will be considerably longer, and will actually make sense.*
The second main reason that I quit is that I found myself being pulled to other projects. I'm almost done with a major revision of The Book, and I wanted to work on that a lot instead of working on my word count for Nano's sake. Unlike some of the people doing Nano,** I would like to have a career as a writer. I'm not just cranking out a novel in a month for the sake of having done it. I'm cranking one out in the hopes that I can get it published some day down the road. So me putting off work on a current project just to fill up a bar on the Nano-graph doesn't really make a lot of sense, and I didn't want to do it anymore.
So even though I won't finish Nano, and even though I have a TON of work to do on the Next Book, doing Nano was worth it and fun and I learned a lot. Like the following things:
1. I'm a fast writer, but not Nano fast. In order to complete Nano, you have to write a minimum of 1,667 words a day. I can do that. I can do more than that. But in order for me to have a draft that is a coherent as my writing normally is, I need to work slower. Maybe 1000 words a day, plus revision, maybe a little less.
2. I like the communal aspect of Nano. Our region had little write-ins once a week, and it was nice to sit in the Panera and listen to the sound of a hundred keys clicking.
3. I realized that, fast as I am in normal life, I spend a lot of time dawdling around tinkering with my writing instead of actually writing, and I should spend less time doing that.
4. Even going as fast 3,000 words a day, my characters can surprise me. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes not. But still, surprising.
5. Typing so much is not good for the wrists. Seriously, I'm OLD. sigh.
6. I am loving the idea for the Next Book. I am not loving the current climax of the Next Book or the ending, which right now is just...odd, but overall, I'm optimistic.
7. Nano is a crazy awesome idea. It's just unbelievable. People all over the world try to write a novel in a month? CRAZY! AWESOME!
* There are parts of the story that, right now? Not so much with the sense-making.
** SOME. I said "some."