NaNoWriMo: Postmortem

So, at 8:08 PM today, my first-ever NaNoWriMo came to a close. At 55370 words, I’m officially a NaNo winner. It’s a complete crap story, as far as I can tell not even worth salvaging later. I’m going to give it a cursory edit in the next few weeks and then leave it.

But I did it. I wrote a novel (or as my Mandarin classmate made me say, a novel-length story). How many people can say that? (Answer: quite a few, and that’s just this year and excluding real authors.) The book’s title is “Soar Away”, formerly “That Story About That Concept From the Ender’s Game Series”, which is how I explained it to everyone.

Highlights from this hectic November.

  • Title not chosen until November 30, the last day of NaNoWriMo and five days after I already hit the 50K word goal.
  • Similarly, I had placeholders for several place and group names, also not all resolved until the 30th.
  • I really can get things done more easily with Internet deprivation. Too bad.
  • Thursday/Sunday Write-Ins with Alice, Vicky, and Alvin, and Shirley, Candace, and Becca when they were able to join us. Productive? Only when Candace was there.
  • NaNo Gathering with Ivy, Flora, and Kellie. Productive? Heck no. Next time I’m not going to pretend we’re doing work.
  • Watching Ivy pass 100K. *shakes head*
  • Answering about 3 e-mails a week and letting the rest just sort of pile up in my inbox. If you are one of the people I ignored, I apologize.
  • Music: Life is Like a Boat (Rie Fu), The Backgammon Sessions (On the Rocks, album), and most importantly, Unwritten (Artists in Resonance, orig. Natasha Bedingfield).
  • Sleep deprivation. Not from NaNo itself, but from the homework (and worse, the projects and the unfolded laundry) that didn’t get done while I was writing. Turns out my peak writing time is at 11PM, which kinda sucks for word count goals but gives me a convenient cutoff point (because the motivation to write after 12PM is a lot less).
  • And of course, watching my own progress go up and up and up, and thinking, “Wow.”

Other events in November: I got rejected/deferred from DeCadence (yes, like a college). I wrote a LOLcode interpreter in Scheme. Men’s Chorale had several performances and special rehearsals. Noteworthy Showcase. CHS’s Laramie Project. Midterms. Projects.

And I turned 18, which is kind of significant. A few weeks/months ago, I commented on someone else’s post (actually a Facebook note) and said that turning 18 doesn’t mean much, it doesn’t make you any different from the person you were a week ago. Well, guess what. Somehow it is a bit different. Mostly because I have the power to sign contracts now. (Somehow that’s a big thing to me, significantly more than anything else.)

Next week is the last full week of classes. And after that…there’s the UCCE Holiday Show! With nine groups, it’s worth coming to if you’re in the Berkeley area or can get up there on a Monday night. It’s on December 10, which happens to be the last day of classes.

And after that, finals and winter break, programming and sleeping, and most importantly seeing friends again.

It wreaked havoc on my November, ate my time, ruined my sleep, almost put my social life into a coma (you’d be surprised at how many events I did go to though). Would I do it again next year? Am I really that crazy?

Absolutely. I’ve already got an idea all picked out.