www.whyville.net Nov 30, 2009 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Quest for 50,000: In Review

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It's been over a week since I finished my novel. Although I'm proud of myself for completing it, I can't help but wish I were still writing it. Over the course of twenty days, I experienced pure madness, gave up my social life, and spent hours typing away at my computer. At night, I stayed awake several hours longer than I should have because I couldn't stop thinking about my story. It probably wasn't very good for my health.

Gosh, I miss it.

Ever since late October, I was focused about writing that novel. I doubted myself at times, but felt incredibly confident at others. 50,000 words shifted in and out of probability. I wasn't sure if I was going to meet my goal, but I kept telling myself that I could do it. Not once had it slipped from "challenge" status until I had finished. It's really no secret that NaNoWriMo isn't exactly a walk in the park. I had never expected it to be so.

It's funny when I look back to the first week. I was struggling just to meet the 1,667 word daily goals. As I progressed, it got easier to write. I faltered at times, just trying to stretch out the smallest events but still keep them interesting. It wasn't even close to what I had previously been used to. I was a short story writer. It took me a while to make the stretch to the larger scale and put my inner editor in a coma. I was used to having my first draft practically be the final draft. Even as I sit here right now, I have no idea how I accomplished such a feat. I suppose this was my intention - expanding my writing abilities and trying something different. I just never thought the whole thing would fly by so quickly.

The translation back to schoolwork has been difficult. I have become so used to stretching things out, and my short-answer questions tend to be transformed into entire paragraphs. I can't seem to stop obsessing about word count, either. I keep wincing at all of the contractions I have used so far in this article. I used to split them up for the extra word. I didn't do that all the time, mind you, but it was actually something that I grew accustomed to think about.

I also really miss all of my characters that I grew so accustomed to writing about. I had bonded with all of them somehow, even though very few of them made it to the end of my novel. I still dream about the main character's love interest and get sadistic ideas to give to the bad guy. Everything in real life seems to remind me of my little creations, too. It's almost unbearable to know that I'm no longer writing about them.

Sure, there's always editing and rewriting to bring my familiar characters back to me, but I haven't even dared to look back at everything I've written. I know that a majority of it is going to be absolute garbage and perhaps even slightly disappointing. I shudder to think about all of the mistakes I made while I was typing so quickly. I hold my novel in an extremely high regard, and I hate to think about all of the imperfections infecting it. It will be strange to discover all of them when I finally get around to going through my novel again.

Basically, I'm going a tad bit insane . . . or at least more so that I already was.

Either way, I met the insane 50,000-word goal, and that's what really counts. I don't think there are tons of fourteen-year-olds out there that could do this. Heck, I was still thirteen at the beginning of the month. I finished on my birthday, and wrote over 6,000 words to do so. That whole day was pretty crazy. I remember getting more and more excited with every little bit I grew closer to reaching 50,000 words.

I really enjoyed telling people that I finished my novel because they all seemed so amazed. I admit . . . I was pretty shocked as well. However, everyone's reactions really made the whole thing even sweeter. My mom even told me that she was proud of me. I almost cried just then. Of all the things she could have said, she said the thing that meant the most to me. No one in my family really understands how much I love writing, and I'm really the only author in my recent bloodline. It alienates me at times, but it also makes everyone else even more impressed because they feel like they could never do what I do.

In short, NaNoWriMo had been an incredible experience. I wish I were still participating in the madness right now (though I admit I am enjoying actually getting some sleep). As cheesy as it sounds, I learned things about myself. I found my insane will power that I never knew I had, and that's part of what got me through those twenty crazy days. Apple cider, cookies, and music also propelled me to victory. I can't hear any song on the albums Stadium Arcadium and Ro Sham Bo without reminding myself of writing my novel. Using the word "withdrawal" to describe how I feel right now is a complete understatement.

I miss everything about NaNoWriMo, and I really hope that this won't be the only time that I'll get a chance to participate in the fun.

Your resident writing fool,


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