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Friday, 27 November 2015

The Madness Comes to an End

There are still a few more days until the end of the 2015 NaNoWriMo season, but I have finished early. No, that does not mean I hit the 50,000 word goal and received the coveted purple banner that declares me a winner. It means I have accepted defeat, and bowed out.

I wasn't at all prepared for NaNo, but I had a basic plot for a small fanfic lined up and ready to work on. I even left a friend's Halloween party early so I could be home in time for that mad midnight sprint. I was ready to pump out those first three hundred (or so) words and charge out of the gate. But, ten minutes into November 1st, I was sick to my stomach. I attempted a quick 10 minute word war (a short sprint to see who can write the most words in a specified time frame) to see if I could still crank out a few hundred words. No dice. My war resulted in 47 words written. Being physically sick had sucked out the creative energy I'd had when I sat down in front of my laptop. So, I did the only thing I could do: I went to bed. I was still feeling a bit unwell when I woke up, but I went down to the first write-in of the season at the Toronto Reference Library. I churned out a couple hundred words there, but I fell very short of the daily 1,667 words needed to keep on track. Instead, I only wrote 643. Yup. I was 1,000 words behind on the first day. And I never recovered. I met or exceeded the daily word count goal a couple of times, but the majority of my daily word counts were quite measly.

In spite of that, I was an active part of the Toronto NaNoWriMo community as a chat room moderator and event host (and co-host). I hosted the Friday write-ins – which I continue to host all year long –, co-hosted the Monday write-ins, and a few special events like the Kick-off, Halfway Party, and the Overnight Writing Session (followed by breakfast at Fran's Restaurant). I will be co-hosting the final write-in session on the 30th, and the TGIO (Thank God It's Over/Terribly Glum It's Over party on December 2nd. And, even though I've hung up my pen for a while, I will be an over-exuberant cheerleader on the sidelines, cheering everyone else still in the race to the finish line.

My confidence took a major hit early on when I was unable to meet the needed daily word count goal, and trying to pick up the pieces was a task much easier said than done. Despite the many people cheering me on, par got further and further away. Looking back now, I realize I probably wasn't in the best head space when I began this challenge. (I was also physically sick twice – the first day and at the Overnight writing session.) I've had a rough year, and after depression had me down for the count back in February/March, it's been a long, steep, rocky road back. I'm still not 100%, and I don't know if I ever will be, but I've been inching my way to as close to it as I can get.

The last setback for me this month happened yesterday (on the 26th). While bracing myself to sit in a chair, I injured my thumb (the joint locked and then unlocked a couple of times in too quick a succession for my tendon/muscle to keep up). A writer relies on all their digits, and when one fails, the others have to over compensate. This has made typing a wee bit awkward. It is darn right painful if I continue to use my thumb to hit the space bar. The injury has also aggravated my tendonitis, which flares occasionally throughout the year but more so when November rolls around. So that, coupled with the knowledge I won't be making the 50,000 words needed to win, I decided to get my word count to 25,000 and leave it there. That's what I did.

I'll be back next year, and, hopefully, I'll be more prepared than I was this go round. And with any luck, 2016 will be a much kinder year.

To those who have already hit 50k: CONGRATULATIONS!!! You deserve every ounce of that win!

To those who are still fighting the good fight: KEEP GOING!!! Even if you don't get that coveted purple banner, you are awesome, and your words are amazing! Regardless if you finish the month with 50 words, 100 words, or 20,000 words, that's 50, 100, 20,000 more words than you had a month ago!