Rhythm, Routine, and Ass in the Chair

I didn’t finish.

Let’s get that out at the start. I didn’t reach 50K. But truth be told, I’m kind of ambivalent about it. I really wanted to reach that goal, but all things considered, this was a great NaNo experience.

As one of my fellow Café contributors, R.L. Naquin, likes to say, it was about learning to write every day. In the past, that’s been a difficult routine for me to maintain, but I feel like I finally discovered the value of it this year. If you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, every day, it starts to add up. Even the slow days count for something.

In one of the NaNo posts I read last month, Sara Lundberg wrote that you should touch your story every day. That lady speaks the truth.

There were times when I was despondent. I felt like my story sucked, I was stuck, and curling up in bed seemed like a much better option than turning on the light in my little basement workshop. But I went anyway. I fired up the computer, found a chat room filled with word sprinters, and away I went.

I almost always ended up with more words than I had expected at the outset. It was a kind of magic. And I mainly say magic because that sounds more pleasing to the ear than the truth: it’s work, it’s a grind, and it’s your job.

I may not have reached the finish line this year, but I did finish the book I’d been working on, and I’ll take that trade any day of the week. I’m doing a read through now and hope to get it out to a few friends in January.

I’m not sure if I’ll be back for NaNo again next year. I’m starting to believe that I may not be one of those people who can crank out than many words in that short of a time. But I’m glad I tried.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year is that writing is as much about rhythm and routine and ass-in-the-chair time as it is about anything else. If you haven’t figured that out yet, I encourage you to give NaNoWriMo a shot.

You may not reach the finish line, but chances are you’ll end up with more words than when you started. And if that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

Larry Jenkins is an aspiring Word Pimp. Has laptop, will travel. Let's make this happen, people.

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