Monday, November 28, 2011

My NaNoWriMo Experience

Day 0
Took the day off work to simultaneously relax and gear myself up for what was to come. I had warned everyone of what I was planning, and that I was not to be disturbed.

 Had a mini freak-out over what I was about to get myself into.

 Talked to the Boyfriend on the phone. While he has always been supportive of my writing, he's always been kind of teasing about it if there are things he finds ridiculous (read: vampires, werewolves, etc). He asked what my story was about. I told him I didn't want to tell him because he would think it was silly. He responded with what was quite possibly the most PERFECT answer ever. It was something to the effect of "but isn't that what you're trying to do? Tell a story?" And you know what? He was right.

Spent the evening telling the Boyfriend exactly what the story was, and reading him all the notes I'd prepared in advance. He liked it.

The Boyfriend then asked me a question that made me feel like a REAL WRITER: "Where do you get your ideas?" It made my day.

I was ready.  This thing was going DOWN.

Day 1
Woke up.

Fell back asleep.

Woke up.

Fell back asleep.

Woke up to the phone ringing. It was The Boyfriend. He asked if he could come visit, to which I responded something like this: "OH MY GOD! NO! YOU KNOW THIS IS MY WRITING DAY! DO YOU WANT ME TO FAIL?!?!"

I may have been a little dramatic. But, being the guy he is, he wore me down, telling me he just wanted to see me, and that he wouldn't intrude at all. He'd make sure I wrote all day.

So I sighed and agreed and hung up the phone. Then I pulled my lazy butt out of bed because I had to get some writing done before he got here, or he'd realize I'm a lying liar about how productive I was going to be.

This, despite my protests, ended up being a blessing. The Boyfriend showed up, handed me a coffee, asked me how many words I'd done. Then he settled down on the sofa and, for the rest of the day, every time I got up from the desk or paused too long, he'd look at me and tell me to get back to work.

Most of the credit for my Day One word count of 10,145 words goes to him. Thanks babe!

Day 2
Back at work, but came home directly after and busted out another 5024 words. Feelin' Good!

Day 3
Worked, came home, wrote 5181 words. Exhausted.

Day 4 
Burnout approaching. Worked, then came home EARLY and only managed 2426 words before passing out.

Days 5-7 
Somewhere in there Daylight Savings Time happened, and suddenly it was all DARK at night (I know, right?). I slipped into the first stages of hibernation mode.

Day 8
Dusted myself off. Challenged two other bloggers to mini word-wars.

Then Amber (my fave writing buddy EVER) showed up on Twitter and we word-warred ALL NIGHT LONG.

Hit 30,173 words.

Passed out.

Day 9
ENTIRE body was aching from the word wars. Decided to take the day off from writing.

Day 10
Day off from writing continued into day two.

Days 11-14
Burnout and Hibernation instincts in full effect. Zero words written.

Day 15
Realized the month was half over. This of course, made me want to feel productive, but didn't actually make me want to get any writing done. Fed my manuscript through spell-check (which I'd turned off so that I could bypass my OCD instinct to fix everything with a squiggly line under it). Spell check gave me an additional 33 words (apparently I combine words that aren't actually combineable. Who knew?).

Now at 30,206

Days 16-21
You're a SLACKER McFly. Just like your old man.

Day 22
Realize I have just over a week left.


Make a date with Amber for some more word wars, but fall asleep before she gets there. Luckily, I managed to churn out another 2102 words before that happened.

Am now at 32,308 words.

Day 23
Brother's Birthday. Call him after work to wish him well, then I get down to writing (in between laundry loads, because, you know...NaNoWriMo isn't really conducive to doing laundry, but I was out of shirts, so...)

Manage to churn out 3636 words. The Boyfriend calls and we chat for awhile. I hang up, click SAVE again (I'm OCD with my file-saving, because I've worked my ass off at this point, and I don't want to lose anything)...and then THIS happens...

COMPUTER: *blinks*

ME: *blinks back*

COMPUTER: *sends me error message*

ME: *sighs*

*closes error message*

COMPUTER: *makes WORD close*

ME: *sighs*

*re-opens WORD*

*clicks on file*


ME: WTF? *clicks again*



*searches FRANTICALLY*


Yeah, the computer ate my file. 3636 words. POOF! Gone! This is where I call The Boyfriend right back and start freaking out and working up to a good cry. I hang up with him and call my Brother--because even though he's younger than me, he has ALWAYS been my go-to-guy for making my computer work. Our conversation went something like this...

ME: Oh my god, you have to help me. I just wrote 3600 words and my computer just ATE IT. I'm freaking out. I'm going to cry if I lose this. HELPMEHELPMEHLEPME.

BROTHER: (very calmly) Okay.

Take a look. Is there a temporary file?

ME: Yes, but I CAN'T OPEN IT!

BROTHER: Okay. Make a copy.

ME: I already did but I can't open that either.

BROTHER: Okay. Take the copy...

ME: yes?

BROTHER: ...and change the file extension to .doc

ME: ...seriously.


ME: *tries it* It gives me an error message, saying if I do this, the file might not work...(grumbling) you already aren't working, you bastard.

BROTHER: click OK.

ME: *clicks*

*watches as file turns magically back into a Word document* *clicks on it frantically*

COMPUTER: *opens file*

ME: *scrolls down like a crazy person* Oh thank god!

BROTHER: It worked?

ME: I love you.

He then gave me a teeny lecture on what happens when word files go to the sky. I wasn't really listening. I was too busy rejoicing that my work hadn't been eaten by gremlins. I told him Happy Birthday again and hung up. I think he was going to go eat a brownie or something. I am completely supportive of his victory brownie.

I call The Boyfriend back. I inform him that my Brother is a wizard and needs a shrine.

I manage at churn out a few more words, but at that point I'm so stressed that I can't handle it anymore.

I'm now at 36,083 words.

Day 24


Went shopping.

Made pasta.

Finally succumbed to using Write or Die to bust out some words. Decided I'm getting this thing done NO MATTER WHAT.

Then I realized that I'd forgotten my notes for ALL THE SCENES I WAS WRITING THAT NIGHT at work. Dammit.

Wrote them anyway. That's what editing's for, right?

Played around with Twitter. Wondered why it was so dead and people were talking about pie. Then remembered it was American Thanksgiving.

Tweeted at Amber until she woke up from her food coma.

Wrote with Write or Die (I love that thing).

Hit 40,165 words. Had celebratory drink.

Chatted with Amber instead of going to sleep.

Passed out.

Day 25

Escape Scene begins! Very exciting!

Actually wrote in the morning (this is a first for the month!). Busted out 679 words before work.

Ran spellcheck.

Fought with spellcheck.

Glared at spellcheck.

Clicked "ignore" about a million times.

Spellcheck, after pissing me off mightily, only gave me an additional 5 words.

I'm now at 40,849.

Not too shabby.

Went to work.  Left work.  Drove to my parents' place.

Upon arriving I informed my mother that I was doing NaNoWriMo and "I'm sitting down at the table and I am FINISHING THIS BOOK.  Do NOT let me sleep until it is done."

Mom: *blinks* You're writing a novel?

Me: Yes, National Novel Writing Month, and I'm nearly finished so don't let me--"

Mom: *squish-hugs me* I'm so proud of you!

Me: Oh-kay.  But you're not going to let me sleep 'til I'm done, right?

Mom: Yup.

I then dropped all my stuff and ran out of the house and had lunch with The Boyfriend.  Hey, I didn't say I was starting YET.

Then I got back, and I set up my laptop.  Then I realized I couldn't get on the internet, and considering I was counting on using Write or Die...this was bad. Very bad.  Also?  This puzzled Dad far too much, so he took charge of my laptop and tried to figure it out.  (it didn't work...we ended up having to call my brother at work...yeah, we're THAT family). But then we got it working and I settled in to write.  Unfortunately, the place I'd chosen was a little too close to where Dad was watching football.  I wrote a couple hundred words, got distracted, and had to move.

Wrote next to nothing, and then Brother came home, so I had to go greet and praise him for being so helpful with the tech.

Then dinner happened.

Finally, full and sleepy, I sat down to write.  I wrote through the football sounds.  I wrote through my mom and brother washing the dishes (trust me...this is a challenge) and I wrote through my family trying to actually, you know, CONVERSE with me.  There was NO WAY I wasn't finishing this thing.

And then, with 5000 words left to go...yeah, you guessed it.


Or, at least, I thought I did.

Then my mom gave me some ice cream (I love you Mom!) and I stared at the computer some more.  I poked it. I had a page and a half of notes left and 5000 words to write.

So I did the only thing I could think of... I KEPT TYPING AND PRETENDED LIKE I KNEW WHAT THE HELL I WAS DOING.

Yeah, well, it's my story, isn't it?  I figure I can fix it in the editing process, right? approx 12:30 in the morning, I FINISHED.

Holy crap.  I was done.  I was at like 50,014 words, and I WAS DONE!  I couldn't write another word.  I was so excited.  I saved like a madman, and then copied and pasted the entire sucker into NaNoWriMo's word verification thingie.

It came back and told me I had 49,936 words.  I was flabbergasted.  Was it serious?  How could it do this to me?  How could it just IGNORE WORDS?!?!

Still, I wasn't about to fight with it.  I mustered up all my strength, and began scrolling through the document.  I found a section I had planned to flesh out during the editing process and I FLESHED THAT SUCKER OUT.

I sighed.  I wiped my brow.

I put it through the verification thingie again.

49,993 words.


I may have growled.

I scrolled.  I typed.  I wrote an entire little paragraph because there was NO WAY I was going through that crap again.

And then, mercifully, I ran it through for a THIRD time and I was at 50,067 words.

My word count bar on the website turned purple (which may now be the most gorgeous colour ON THE PLANET) and I let out the biggest sigh ever.

Then I saved like a fiend, and emailed it to myself and then I ran downstairs and collapsed next to my mom.

I got a hug.  It was a good hug.

Then I ran back upstairs and bestowed twitter with my news....


And that, my friends, was that.

I am twenty-seven years old, and I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  But, in all my life, I have never actually finished a novel.

But now, in less than a month, I did THIS....

Thank you for all your encouragement!  See you next NaNo!


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