I did it. The story is there. The pacing is a disaster; one of the scenes I wrote twice because I changed my mind about where it should appear, a third of the characters don’t have names, and around the 20th I quit updating my outline. I always have to go back and write in more so you know things like the hero has brown hair, or the conversation took place in a subway car . . . but . . . but . . . the main and most of the minor pieces are there.
Used to be I thought 500 words in a day was good; 800 words was terrific. During NaNo I had to average 1,667, and during Thanksgiving break I logged 3,500 a couple days to make the deadline. It was hard; it took me all day, some days, and I remember at least six days of hitting my target and thinking, “I have no idea what I’m going to write tomorrow.”
But I got in there and banged out my thousand every day, and this is what will be the long-lasting effect for me. However I feel about this draft in a month or two, I now feel like 800 words is EASY. Something about this has been demystified, my lung capacity has been built up, and my non-NaNo routine will no longer feel like a stretch. NaNo was a month of training at altitude, and now I’m back on the plains with all that extra hemoglobin.
My general philosophy about getting better as a writer is that it must include writing a lot. NaNo was a lot, and it was great. At 50,142 words I left my protagonists with a gun pointed at them. I’ll wrap that up some time in the next day or two; I’ll clean up the kitchen, catch up on the mail, and watch some TV. I’ll get my head out of Daniel and Reggie’s world and feel mighty less trepidation about the next one.