It’s been a few years since I’ve attempted National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those who don’t know, it’s an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in November. Some common criticisms are that the challenge seems like a way of putting quantity over quality and that any story written in a month won’t be ready for publishing. Both are fair points. This year I met the 50,000 word requirement but the story isn’t complete. A few years ago I made it to 50,000 words and that story is complete, but it needs editing and has been untouched ever since. Even though neither of my attempts resulted in a useful product, they were still worthwhile.
The benefit this year didn’t come at the end of the month. It came during the month, on days when I don’t usually write. Too often I put projects aside with the excuse that it’s too late and I’m too tired to focus on anything. This year proved that excuse to be inadequate. Even on late nights, I was still able to add to my word count. I admit the quality was poor. There were a few nights when I was writing with my eyes closed, and one night when I snapped them open and realized I’d accidentally been writing about my day, but the important thing is that I was active. I realize now that there is no reason to write less than 1000 words a night and if I can hold on to the energy that I got from NaNoWriMo this year I should have another book completed in no time.