Well, I didn’t “win,” in the sense that I didn’t write 50,000 words. I was doing very well, getting about 2,000 words a day, and was ahead of schedule but then, as I knew I would be, I was derailed by a visit from my mother, Thanksgiving, and, above all, a deadline on an article that was due on November 30th. But I did get 35,677 words, and I am thrilled with that.
So what did I learn? I learned that I can write academic prose and fiction in the same month, though not at the same time. It doesn’t matter if I have “free time” to write the other in while I am writing the first. If my headspace is occupied with one project, it can’t divide itself in two for another.
I have a good seven chapters begun on the new novel, and I feel like it is solid stuff. Many of the things I learned were things relearned from previous NaNos. Writing 2 000 words per day does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. It does mean your story will live in your head 24-7 and will generate connections and developments seemingly without your involvement. That is always fun. Characters will grow before your eyes.
I think I do my best writing under this regime. I think 2,000/day is too much for me to sustain for longer than a month, every day with no break. But I know that when i get in a rhythm of writing, say 1,000 a day, the work stays fresh.
I already can’t wait for next year.