Fifty thousand words and thirty days later: NaNoWriMo - done.
It was an immense challenge, but I surprised myself with my commitment and planning, ensuring that I kept up the word count, meeting and exceeding my daily quota of words on a regular basis. I also proved to myself that a regular writing schedule can be squeezed around a full time job, which has always been a big hurdle for me. In addition, not only did I develop some good writing habits, I took a big step forward towards finishing the first draft on my novel.
The writing doesn't stop there, though. I still have my target of finishing this first draft before dawn on the 19 December. The challenge is to keep the momentum going without the fun of a contest or without that feeling of camaraderie with other writers that is experienced during NaNoWriMo.
I'm doing it a little different for December too. I'm not aiming for the same word count each day because I don't want to rush the intricacies of the final quarter of the book. Instead, I have a goal of 90 minutes of writing a day. The first few days of December made me quite proud; despite a busy schedule at work, I met my 90 minute goal and exceeded 2,000 words in each sitting. The rest of the week has been a debacle due to increasing work commitments; no time spent on writing. Some catching up is required but I feel confident that I can do that over the next two weeks.
NaNoWriMo was a very beneficial experience and I learned a lot - as I suspect everybody participating did - so congrats to everyone else who took part - well done! Looking forward to next November.
Elsewhere on the planet, news of the Harrogate 2009 lineup has been published and for me, the highlight is the attendance of George Pelecanos. He would have to be one of my favourite authors, if not the favourite. His novels are a pleasure to read and are super cool. He is such a great guy too. The last time he was at Harrogate, he gave some inspiring words of advice that helped me kick start my novel and get over the fear of tackling such a big project. That advice was given to the general audience, so I hope I'll be able to sneak in a five minute chat with him at the bar next July, one on one. Quite an exciting prospect.
I'm not alone here: the ladies, especially those on Mark Billingham's forum, have their own reasons for getting excited about Mr Pelecanos's attendance: