... And I'm okay with that.
Yes, I only made it to around 40,000 words this November, as opposed to beating the 50,000 last year, but as I wrote on Twitter, I think it's more important for me to continue writing consistently every day than to try to write myself to death in the last bits of November that are left. I have had a great run this month and I am proud of that. I had low expectations going into NaNo this year, with school and all getting in my way from writing consistently every day, but I blew away those expectations, buckled down, and created my art. And I think that's the coolest thing.
The main reason I didn't finish this year is because of Thanksgiving and everything surrounding it. My girlfriend and best friend in the world, Anna, came back from college in Missouri for Thanksgiving break, and I put aside the things I had been working on to focus on spending time with her and my family for the holidays. Sure, I could have stayed up late and gotten up early and written the rest of it, but not only would it be the crappiest material I wrote all month, I don't think I would be nearly as excited to continue with the novel as I am having taken a break. I would have started hating the project simply because it was making my week miserable, and that's not conducive to good productivity or a good life. And so I sacrificed ten thousand words for a week of love and fellowship with the best people I know.
This month, I finished seven chapters of my novel, To Look Skyward, and a short story for my creative writing class tentatively named A Cage For Lions, made as a prequel set in the same world as the novel. And though there's gonna be a lot of revision in the next month as I get ready for another big writing challenge I'll be giving myself in January, I am back at it at full strength and I've never felt better. This novel is going to be finished soon, and that is gonna feel so good. And I think a main part of that is the fact that I put it aside for a while to focus on more important things. My art will be waiting for me on the other side.
Now it's time to focus on catching up with the schoolwork that I've been putting off to work on my novel and spend quality time with my loved ones. That means writing a four page paper before Wednesday night for Ancient History. It's going to be about oral poetry and mythology and storytelling, all of which are some of my favorite things, so that's awesome, but I'm still not entirely sure of the specific slant I want it to have. So wish me luck and send up prayers for that, if you would. Also, I have some math homework to catch up on for Quantitative Reasoning, and after all that is done, final exams to study for and a final project to put together for Creative Writing.
Oh, that reminds me of something really awesome that I wanted to mention. After I submitted my short story, A Cage For Lions, to my creative writing instructor, I had a meeting with him to talk about it, as we've done once before for one of the other narratives we've written. He proceeded to tell me how much he loved the short story and asked me to tell him more of what I had been working on. I got to tell him about To Look Skyward, and he was as sold on the idea as I was, which was incredibly encouraging. He e-mailed me some tips for the worldbuilding, geeked out with me about fantasy for a moment, said I should send the story out to a fantasy magazine if I did some revision on it, and then we got down to talking about what I should do for my final project of the semester.
It's a seven to fifteen-page work that I have to turn in, either of nonfiction or fiction. I quickly decided on fiction, since that's where my true passion lies, but I confessed that I didn't really have an idea for what to write yet, so we brainstormed for a bit. My professor eventually suggested that I just write something related to my novel, since I was already doing that, such as a chapter or an excerpt. And so that's what I'm going to be working on. I'm trying to decide whether or not I should write a new chapter, try to find a good existing chapter to revise, or try to make some sort of extra scene or excerpt that doesn't tie in with the main story. Whichever I choose, I want to make sure it's a complete story that stands on its own without having to have read anything else in To Look Skyward. And therein will lie the main challenge.
But yeah, after that, I need to finish writing a song that someone commissioned me to write and then my semester will be over. Then on to revising the chapters I wrote for NaNoWriMo and writing more chapters beyond that. Huzzah for productivity!
But yes, I lost NaNoWriMo this year, and I'm okay with that. If you won this year, congratulations! That's so awesome. I'm proud of you. If you didn't win this year, congratulations, you wrote! That's so awesome. I'm proud of you. If you didn't participate at all, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Join next year! It's a blast and you won't regret. Just make sure that you keep your priorities straight and your expectations where they should be, and it'll be a fun month.
See you next year, everyone.