I've been a bit quiet in November, for which you can thank or blame NaNoWriMo
. I crossed the 50,000 word finish line at half past seven this morning, a day early, thus 'winning' for the third time.
Nothing I have produced during these mammoth writeathons has, as yet, seen the light of day, and a 1,667-word average puts a great deal of strain on my limited literary and temporal resources. So, why do I do it?
- For the cameraderie. I love competing and commiserating with my online friends as our word counts rise.
- For the goodies. Last year one of the winners' rewards was 50% off Scrivener, which has turned out to be worth its weight in gold. At a saving of 30 dollars, my month of writing earned me less than a dollar an hour, but bear in mind a lot of the writing I do is not recompensed at all.
- To remind myself that there is always time to write if you want to do it badly enough. If I can write that many words a day for a month, I can surely manage 500 a day the rest of the year HA HA HA.
- To give the illusion of having more time. I'm thinking here of the Chinese fable about the villager who complains to the local wise man that his house is too small for his family. He is instructed to get a cockerel and come back in a week, whereupon he is told to get a cat, then a dog, then a goat, donkey, cow, then to get rid of one animal a week until his home feels lovely and spacious. Surely my post-NaNo life will feel lovely and leisurely?
- To flush out my brain. Some ideas nag at me for ages, but are too difficult or time-consuming or pants to get down. This is the ideal opportunity to play with them and see if they go anywhere.
- For the moments of brilliance. Just occasionally I come out with something I really like, which might not have turned up if I hadn't been desperate for words at ten to midnight.
I'm glad, once again, that I did it, that I won, and that it's over. While it's useful to know how much I can write in a day if pressed, it is definitely not a pace I could sustain permanently. For 29 days I have been neglecting various emails and phone calls I owe, and I have not cleaned the kitchen or bathroom since October (though, to be fair, neither has my flatmate). Setting the alarm for half an hour earlier than usual to cram in writing time before work is also no fun and makes me grumpy.
Worth it? Yes.
Same time next year?...maybe.