Validation has before for WriMos near and far. Yes, I’m talking NaNoWriMo and the magical change of word count bars everywhere from blue to purple. It seems like such a small thing, that little color change, but I can tell you, there is a sense of complete and utter satisfaction that comes with that tiny shift of the spectrum.
I validated my novel shortly after midnight, late last night. I didn’t think it would give me the same sense of success hitting my 50k did. I was wrong. I needed that visual cue to know, without a doubt, that I am joined the ranks of the NaNoWriMo winners. I entered the winner’s circle with the rest of the few, the proud, the over 50k.
Don’t get me wrong, for me, hitting that mark was a given. I would have written it anyway, in about the same amount of time. That does not make it less of an achievement. I struggled every day to reach that goal, there were days that getting that 2k words a day was more than a little difficult. There was a time that I didn’t think I could continue, I was that freaked out by the big ugly number that was my goal.
What kept me going during my darkest moments was having a wonderful support system in place. People to urge me on, word war with me, remind me that it was possible and I would get there. And you know what? I did. Seventeen days after I began this journey, I finished my 50k and have continued writing every day, 2k-4k a day, every day. Well, except one, but that’s another story.
Now that validation has occurred, I was able to relive the feeling of meeting a goal. I downloaded my winner’s certificate, and yes, I plan to print and frame it. This is my first NaNoWriMo, I was a virgin. I don’t think I truly understood what a wild ride it would be, since writing 50k in a month isn’t really that much of a challenge for me.
The challenge, I’ve found, lies in making myself write every day. I couldn’t let all the little road blocks stop me. I couldn’t give in to “writer’s block,” or my inner editor, or, worse, my inner critic. I couldn’t get distracted by the million and one little plot bunnies making babies in the back of my mind. There was an incredible discipline involved that I normally don’t need to force on myself when I write.
I’ve learned a great deal from this experience, both from my own, personal challenge as well as from the challenges faced by others. The most important for everyone is that NaNoWriMo is like running a marathon. If you don’t train, winning is almost surely out of reach. Write every day, or at least often. Don’t think that you can never write more than facebook updates and text messages and make it to the finish line. It will only make it that much more difficult if you don’t already have the habit of daily writing.
So, my little novelists and future novelists, write. Write often. No one ever has to read it, but do the writing anyway. It will turn 50k in a month from a pipe dream into a challenge that you can achieve.