NaNoWriMo 2011 Wrap-up

Yep, 50,000 words. Been there. Done that. Here’s the equivalent of the t-shirt:

NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner Icon

I was pretty confident going in this year. I had already succeeded at NaNoWriMo three times before, turning two of those efforts into completed novels. So, to make it more interesting, I decided that this year my goal was not merely the 50,000 words, but rather to never fall behind the curve. As an unstated stretch goal, I wanted to see if I could actually finish the story in November, which would probably require closer to 75-85,000 words.

Let’s start with the word count. I started off strong, beating 2000 words every day for the first week. This turned the word count of the beast into something closer to a bear – still worrisome at around 1450 words per day, but losing its demonic qualities. Another week averaging 2500 words per day brought it down to 850, the word count of the buffalo – still respectable, but not all that aggressive. However, continuing at that pace rapidly turned it into the word count of the badger, laughable as it rapidly plunged towards zero. And on November 20th, it officially became the word count of MY BITCH!* As in, “Bend over when you get me that soap, bitch!” So, this year I did 50,000 words in 20 days.

But alas, I did not reach my stretch goal of finishing the manuscript in November. I feel a little bad writing my post-mortem while there are still hours left in the NaNoWriMo frenzy, but the writing is on the wall rather than in my manuscript. The pace of the first twenty days put me on the right track, but I was unable to sustain it into Thanksgiving. What killed it was the arrival of family and all the schedule disruption they bring with them. I’m probably going to finish up the month fifteen to twenty thousand words short of the ultimate end of the manuscript. Still, the last relative is flying out shortly, so I intend to go “back to the word mines” and resume that 2500 word per day pace. So, I should wrap up shortly, just not in November.

As I was going at it, a friend told me, “You know, you’re really past NaNoWriMo.” She’s probably right, but it was nice to do it one more time. I have a lot of work ahead of me finishing off edits to the previous two novels and seeing what to do about their publication, and then there’s the editing on this one. But even then, I hope to be starting my next manuscript before next November, so while I might still make an effort to do a full first draft in 30 days, I doubt I’ll ever be doing NaNoWriMo again except by a coincidence of the calendar.

I’ll let you all know when this one wraps up, and I’ll say a bit about it then.

(*For those of the feminine persuasion, understand that “bitch” refers to the poor sap who had the ill fortune to be my cell mate in prison, not to a lovely yet maligned lady.)