I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, because I finished an intensive outline on October 31st, mostly by coincidence, and I was planning to write the novel this month anyway. I’ve started Nano twice before and never officially finished, mostly because both times were when I was in college, and late November is not a great time to be writing a novel with papers and tests and things right before Thanksgiving (and the second time, a thesis defense).
However that second novel? I wrote half of it during November, stopped to do revisions and defend my thesis, and then wrote the second half of it the first two weeks of December. The first draft was far short of 50k words, but it was in fact the first draft of CHASING THE SKIP, so I’m going to call it a success anyway, even if I technically failed to write 50k in November. (Fun fact: the published version is also under 50k.)
I like Nano. I think it’s a good exercise in writing consistently and diligently for many, many people. But I’m more committed to my work than I am to the exercise, so if it turns out my new novel needs to be written slower, I will do so. If some personal crisis pops up, I won’t feel bad about not hitting 50k. If the draft isn’t that long and it’s finished, huzzah.
I also like having the goal, though, so I’m going to try. This morning I wrote 550 words (on the nose!) and I can already tell I’m going to get to keep every one. (This was not the beginning of the book. I started in the middle, because that’s how I roll.) And I couldn’t ask for a better start to drafting than that.