I participated in NaNoWriMo again this year (this makes twice). I only made it to 30,085 words this time, way short of the 50,000-word finish line. I have all sorts of reasons that I can give for not making it, but it comes down to “didn’t put in enough time” and “didn’t cut loose and just throw down words,” which are probably the two reasons behind most of those who don’t make 50k. But I’m okay with it, and I’m not a fox reaching for grapes, here.
I wrote an awful thing two years ago, with stomach-churning amounts of padding and very little discernible plot. I haven’t looked at it since. Thinking of some of what I put into that still makes me cringe. This year’s effort, though, is almost all actual story. I have characters with background, with arc, and with motivation. I have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a “relationship character” or two. (If the Hollywood Formula is unfamiliar, go back a few episodes of Writing Excuses and check it out.) There are three acts.
In other words, I have taken this story far more seriously. Participating in NaNoWriMo 2009 was to prove to myself that I could write at all; I hadn’t done it since 1990 at the latest, probably earlier. This year, it was to get me to quit worrying about details and getting things “right” and all the other perfectionist excuses and just, as Mighty Mur, says, “shut up and write the damn book.”
So I didn’t make 50,000 words in 30 days, but I did meet my goal. I expect I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo 2012, as well.