The problem with November* is that it’s dark. It gets dark early, it stays dark late, and it’s just a mess of gloominess in that too-brief between, all punctuated by a few vaguely sunshiney days and the first flurries of the year.
For a writer in the northern hemisphere — particularly one who suffers from seasonal affective disorder — NaNoWriMo is one of the best things since sliced bread. It offers a full month for us to throw words at a computer screen. No strings, no expectations. Just words.
For someone who has had a year full of loss, to have this one pocket of thirty days where every spare moment was spent writing was hugely therapeutic. There is the usual NaNoWriMo hangover, that overwhelming sense of “where did it go?” and “what now?” but I also feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Not because I finished my novel — far from it — but because I wrote 60,000 words in a month.
My biggest epiphany this go around was that, for me, NaNoWriMo is a sandbox. It’s a place to produce ideas and words, but not necessarily follow rules. Is my word count low today? Screw that “no adverbs and adjectives” rule. Is everything getting boring? Throw in an unexpected, pointless action scene that does nothing to accelerate the plot.
My novel this year is nothing I will finish. It’s full of trite characters and terrible writing. But I loved the experience, and I feel re-energized to write more. Write better. Tell better stories.
For the sixth year in a row, I thank NaNoWriMo. I can’t wait until next year.
In case you were curious, my stats for this year:
The Ensnared – young adult urban fantasy (faeries)
Average per day: 2,012
Total words written: 60,375
Goal achieved on: November 19, 2014
Last day of writing: November 26, 2014
Best day: November 9 with 5109 words written
* Mays are also hard in Nova Scotia. They involve a lot of rain. In fact, we have had Mays where we have had one full day of sunshine. None of that sun-peeking-from-behind-cloud crap. Full sun. One day. That said, it doesn’t get dark as quickly, so May’s at least got that going for it.