It’s the evening of the 15th. November, and thus NaNoWriMo, is half over.
Now, I’m not super worried. Granted I have a lot of other things on my plate as well, but this is also not out of the ordinary for me. I’m sitting at just under 11,500 words. Out of 50,000. Back in 2006, I was in the same position. I woke up on the 16th with only 11,500 words. I’ll write more tonight so I’ll be past that, but still, this is the precedent. This, as crazy as it seems, is normal. I’ve only ever finished before the 30th twice in the 12 years I’ve finished. Twice. 2005 and … a few years ago. I can’t remember which one. Probably 2012 or 2013. I gave myself a reward to aim for if I finished before the 30th: treating myself to a movie. I finished on the 29th.
2005 was my first year. I was living in Chicago, unemployed and bored. I finally remembered NaNoWriMo before it was over (in October, before it started), signed up and off I went writing a comic fantasy that has yet to be completed or edited to any reasonable degree. I finished on the 27th or 28th that year. I’m usually at less than 25K by this point in the month. It’s when the 16th rolls around that things start clicking and I get lots of words down.
Things started to pick up last night. Especially with the YA story. The cats tale is being shy. Mausi is stalled and going much slower. But this is how it is when you’re rebelling and are working on three stories instead of one longer one. Jumping back and forth between tales is challenging (especially when one is strictly 1st person, the second is 3rd person limited, and the third one is 3rd omniscient), but where one may pull out ahead (the YA tale) and the others trail, at some point, the YA tale may pause and one of the other two will jump in and keep me going.
Of my roughest years, 2006 and then 2009 and 2014 rank high. In 2006, I charged along and woke up the final day to needing 11,500 to get to 50K. Yes, the year I had a mere 11,500 in the first half of the month. I did it. I hit 50K that evening. In 2009, after swearing up, down, backwards, forwards and blindfolded that I’d never had a repeat of 2006, I woke up on the final day to needing 16,000 words. Oof!
But I did it.
In 2014, my dad passed away early in the month, so my mind was on a million things at once. I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop, so I didn’t. I remember reaching 25K on Thanksgiving, with a week remaining. I struggled to tell the story. It didn’t help that right around 25K, the tale I was telling stopped cold. I took a step back, walked around the house I grew up in (that’s the week I was down there), and remembered an idea I’d had about that series: having one book tell the intertwined back stories of the founders of the Sanctuary. I’d already started with one. So I wrote down names of the other elders and started telling each of their histories. Eventually, I’m going to intertwine them and tell the founding of the Sanctuary chronologically. That will be a massive undertaking.
I have days where I get 300 words and others where I get 2000+.
Now the pressure is on. I know I can do this. There is no “I give up” button.
Watch this space for updates.
PS: I did way too much walking yesterday and have been down for the count today. My back was none too happy with me this morning. Sciatica radiating down from my hip to my knee.